It's the season of giving. However, the huge increase of packages delivered this time of the year also brings in a spike in theft of packages.
One Buffalo man learned this the hard way, and says he lost more than $400 in presents for his two of his four children.
Dennis White said he had been waiting for gifts to arrive for his 4-year-old and 2-year-old sons. His youngest "was excited for the Mickey Mouse laptop and I was just as excited to give it to him."
On Tuesday, two packages were delivered outside of White's Lovejoy home.
"I received a text message telling me that my package had arrive," White said. "I went out to look for the package and didn't see it there -- contacted the shipping company, and they said it was delivered."
White then checked his home surveillance system, which he installed after someone broke a window.
The video recorded shows that less than five minutes after the delivery-person dropped off the two packages, contained a large box of toys and a second shipment of Bills jerseys, a man comes to his door and steals the packages.
"I was livid," White said. "Not so much because it was stolen, but because you're taking Christmas from a kid. You'd think people would have a better heart, especially around this time."
White said he still has gifts for his children, but the big package taken contained most of the toys he planned to give to his 2-year-old.
"He still has some toys, but a lot of clothes. And a 2-year-old is not going to be excited about the clothes," White said.
Now the rush is on for White. He has some unplanned last minute Christmas shopping to do. He wants anyone to recognize the thief to call police, saying, "I'll probably be able to replace them, but the family might not be able to, so I'm just hoping we can find this guy."
So how do you prevent thieves from getting packages? According to Karen Mazurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the United States Post Office, the key is to to minimize the amount of time deliveries are left unattended.
"It would be like leaving your wallet on the front porch," said Mazurkiewicz. "That's an opportunity for somebody to take it. You don't want to leave something on your front porch longer than necessary."
That includes mail in your mailbox.
The USPS also recommends having a stay-at-home neighbor helping to get packages. Deliveries can even be shipped to that neighbor or to another alternate address, including a work location if possible.
USPS also has a real-time tracking service and includes text message alerts.
Mazurkiewicz also recommends recipients of packages that are heading out of town to hold their mail. This would keep deliveries safe at the Post Office.
Users can also use the Priority Mail Express service to specify a delivery date. The USPS website also allows recipients to set-up a profile specifying a secure drop-off location at their residence.
There are about 4,500 USPS workers in Buffalo working on delivering packages this holiday week either in neighborhoods or at post offices.
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