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Beware of stolen packages, Erie County DA offers tips to deter thieves

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Posted at 11:04 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 11:04:35-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn has issued a reminder to residents on the dangers of leaving packages unattended after they are delivered.

The DA says while package thefts tend to increase around the holidays, more orders are also being placed online due to COVID-19. According to the DA, the Buffalo Police Department has seen a 54.9% increase in residential package thefts this year (231 reported incidents in 2019, 358 reported incidents in 2020).

The following tips have been offered by Flynn to prevent stolen packages:

  • Be home during the delivery window and bring packages inside immediately after arrival.
  • If you are unable to be home during the delivery time, ask a neighbor to accept and hold the package until you return.
  • Leave a note on your door requesting that packages be left inside a front door or another location on your property that will be out of sight from the sidewalk. If a person cannot see the package at your doorstep, it is less likely to be stolen.
  • Opt for curbside pick-up instead of delivery when possible.
  • Purchase a doorbell camera to monitor when your packages arrive. Video evidence of a porch thief can also be provided to law enforcement to assist in their investigation.

“While some law enforcement agencies in Erie County have reported an uptick in stolen packages compared to last year, I believe this may be an underreported crime because many people file complaints with the retailer or delivery agency when they do not receive their purchases,” said Flynn. “This can be difficult to prosecute because the thieves act quickly, leaving us with no witnesses or other evidence to connect these individuals to the crime. I encourage residents to be proactive to prevent their packages from being stolen and to consider purchasing a home security camera to catch these thieves in action.”

Officials say grand larceny, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property are potential charges that could be filed against someone caught stealing a package or other property that does not belong to them.