PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As holiday packages are on the move, so are the criminals.
Surveillance video from one resident in Center City caught two separate incidents in recent months as brazen thieves are seen opening a screen door and walking away with the boxes left inside.
“I’ve heard there’s a crew that follows the delivery trucks whether it be UPS, FedEx, or the post office,” said one man.
Some neighbors are doing what they can to avoid package theft, such as getting their packages delivered to the workplace or using storage lockers across the city, but demand has been higher than supply in some cases.
One store in Northern Liberties has a three-month waiting list just to lease a mailbox locker because all of them are full.
“Unfortunately, everyone’s things are being taken and unfortunately, in holiday time, it increases because delivery packages are increasing,” said Naketa Thigpen, whose packages have been stolen from her doorstep three times.
Neighbors have started banding together.
“We pick up each other’s packages; we drop them off and we stop people from leaving them in inappropriate places,” Thigpen said.
Now, she pays a monthly fee to have her packages sent to the Northern Liberties Mailbox Store, where they are held until she can pick them up.
“They can do a mailbox for three, six months or 12 or if it’s just a package here and there, they can have it delivered here and it’s $3 a package,” said owner Mike Fausey, who simply asks customers who have chosen to do so to email him with their contact information.
Fausey says his business is receiving nearly three times the packages per day as it typically would, partly due to the holiday rush but also because customers are trying to keep their packages safe.
“Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the last couple of days have been quite a few boxes. I think we had 250 incoming packages yesterday,” he said.
UPS alone expects to ship 420 million packages this holiday season. Police departments are posting tips for neighbors and reminding thieves that stealing mail is a felony.