Dear PoPville – Stolen Packages @ 13th and Euclid St, NW


“Dear PoPville,

Wanted to see how many people were affected by package thieves (or thief) in my immediate area. Our building, at 13th and Euclid, has been targeted very consistently (once a month to even a couple times a month) and a thief enters our building, steals packages (or just the contents) and leaves. We live in a 25 unit building with no doorman and a standard key fob/buzz in system.

Anyone else in the area getting hit regularly? Anyone have success with professional security/camera service? How about with a DIY web-cam type devices? Any cool ideas or “locker boxes” people use to secure packages?Anyone have ideas on how they get in (besides being buzzed in by a careless resident? Any other suggestions to deter and prevent?

We do encourage our folks to have things delivered to work and tell people not to buzz in unknown folks (even if they say they are the delivery man). But it still happens and it is getting very frustrating and we are not sure there is much the Police can help us with.”

35 Comment

  • to truly avoid this you have to do antisocial things like pull the door behind you when entering your building when someone is following you.

  • cool ideas?
    If your building has 25 units there’s a pretty good chance that you can have people “receive” packages once or twice a week. Leave a note for the mailman/delivery person that reads:
    “do to high theft levels in this area we request that we leave all packages at x units on x days”.
    Good luck!

  • I definitely would think you should have a camera at least watching the front entrance to the building. Seems like common sense in 2013 when HD setups aren’t especially expensive. Just put up a camera, advertise the fact with a sign, and one would think that’d drastically cut down on these nuisance issues.

  • PDleftMtP

    Ileana’s idea is a great one. If there’s someone who’s home during the day, the rest of the building should be offering to run them errands/bake them cookies/whatever if they’ll take packages.

    For the camera and sign, you get the same deterrent effect more cheaply from a fake camera and sign. Fake cameras with blinking lights are widely available – maybe that’s a first step.

  • I think we live in the same building. I thought someone who lives in the building was taking packages. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to who’s packages are taken though, except that I always seem to be the target.

    I have *everything* delivered to work now. I realize that is not an option for everyone and I am extra lucky my mail guy at work and I are buddies.

  • Living in a quiet neighborhood really has its perks. I can have a package obviously sitting under the doormat. And it will be there when I get home.

  • I live at 19th and R, in The Rodney. We were having the same problem this spring — dozens of stolen packages, including several hundred dollars worth of furniture my roommate ordered. No doorman or security camera in the 24-unit building. I had management (Daro) change the passcode (in the three years I’ve lived there, it’s never changed, so lots of people have access). Now the only way to get into the building is with a FOB or key — they deactivated the passcode system entirely — and nothing has been stolen since.

  • MPD is actually working on this and have made some arrests lately (at least in 303). A lot more officers are in plain clothes and walking around during the day.

  • gotryit

    $400 for a security camera system / 25 units = $16/unit. Should work out even if a few people don’t want to chip in.

    • Somebody would also need to view the footage (or at least be willing to go through the footage if there were an incident).

      • gotryit

        The person whose package was stolen would likely be motivated enough to do so and push it with the police. It’s fairly easy to do if you can see the package in the video. Just jump back and forth until you pinpoint the time when the package disappears.

    • One of my neighbors got some good footage of some package thieves just down the hill from this incident. It was provided to MPD.

  • I live at 13th & Kenyon (in a rowhouse) and packages get stolen off our porch ALL the time, especially when the deliveryperson does not “hide” them behind the ledge at the top of the stairs. It’s a huge bummer. I started having all of my packages shipped to my office…

  • My building is in Adams Morgan up by the Exxon and we’ve been having some pretty significant theft issues. It’s been on and off all summer, and unfortunately we haven’t been able to get security cameras installed yet to look over the front entry area where packages are being stolen. One of our residents saw an 40 something black gentleman with some grey facial scruff walk by our building carrying a duffel, and slow when he saw packages inside the front door. He backtracked slowly and walked up to the front door, and with no one else around, gained access to the building. We have no doorman and no security cameras, but moments after he went in, he came out with a package sticking out of his duffel. He’s also been seen biking around the neighborhood, so he may be a resident of the adams morgan/columbia heights area. One of our neighbors found the package down the street and returned it to the owner, contents all inside. They said they were also having similar experiences in their building in Adams Morgan. We filed a police report and have expressed our concerns to UPS/Fedex when they are delivering to deliver to resident doors vs. in the front hall. It sounds like we are having the same problems as many older buildings in the area — codes/locks haven’t been changed in ages and who knows who has access to buildings.

  • My condo bldg designated a lobby closet for packages. Residents and delivery services have the code to enter. Keeps the packages out of sight. Before that, we arranged so that pacges left in the lobby could not be seen from the door (no temptations). That also worked.

    On a related note, check around your area for opened and discarded packages. I regularly find small packeges that have been rifled through and abandoned and return them to the ownder (this has happened three times).

  • I live on Argonne just off 16th St, and we had a package-theft problem in our building for a while, too. Two of my packages were stolen, and one of my boxes was cut open–fortunately, though, the theives on that one evidently deemed my books too boring to be worth stealing. Don’t know if it’s tapered off, since I switched to getting my packages delivered at the office. Our building has a couple of cameras, but they look pretty pathetic, so I’m not sure how much use they are.

    • The situation bmoredc describes of packages not being to a thief’s liking links back to what I say above. I think the packages are not in all cases gone forever but may be around in an alley. Once I found a motor pary in its box stuffed in a shrub. Poke around a bit.

  • I’m also in Adams Morgan off 18th north of Florida and we’ve had significant thefts in the area — we are constantly seeing empty boxes torn open. Our UPS driver (who is FANTASTIC) actually brought this to our attention and we’ve made sure the front door to the lobby is secured, but we don’t have the option of a lobby closet or doorman, unfortunately.

  • You can buy a mailbox system with a secure package locker. The mail carrier puts the package in the locker, takes the special key out and puts it in the regular mailbox of the recepient so only that person can open it. Talk to your management company or search online – we’ve been happy with

  • My building on 14th and Clifton was getting regularly hit earlier this summer. We have videos of the thief getting through the lock and snatching packages. There was a detective put on the case, but there’s been no progress as one would expect. The building ultimately upgraded the locking mechanism for the front door and there has not been a subsequent theft that I know of.

    My poor teapot never had a chance…

  • Some places, like basecamp at around 18th and Fl, offer package concierge services starting with a $20/yr subscription with a ~$2-5 fee for each package, depending on the size. Not ideal but it’s good for peace of mind if you’re willing to spend another couple dollars.

  • I live on 14th/Girard (the Dunkin Donuts building). We have packages stolen almost every 2nd or 3rd month. We have a camera system but the police haven’t been able to use that to catch anyone. From eye-witness accounts, we’re fairly certain it’s a bunch of kids that hang out on Girard between 14th/15th. I don’t think they all live on that street, cause I’ve seen them coming and going on Fairmont and Girard, but they’re definitely local punks kids.

    We’re considering options from adding a locked cage in the mail room to additional fob/key entry to the mail room to possibly going 24/7 with our front desk ($$$).

    The bottom line for us, for now, is to be vigilant. We are asking tenants to not let anyone follow them into the building, not buzz in anyone they don’t know, and to pick up their packages asap. I know those seem obvious, but repeatedly telling people these things does help.

  • I had a friend on the Hill who had some half a dozen packages stolen from his doorstep over the course of the six weeks or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He finally started having stuff delivered to his office, which was a pain, but got creative with getting revenge on the package thieves. He started collecting the little bags he used to pick up his dog’s poo and putting them in the boxes from Amazon (which have those obnoxious logos all over the sides screaming “steal me!!”) that his packages came in to his office and then leaving them on his doorstep, all sealed up again looking like a “fresh delivery” (pun intended).
    The thief/thieves only stole the first two of those. Now they seem to skip his house when they go shopping for packages to steal.

  • I live in the Embassy at Harvard & Mt. Pleasant. Our package theft issues have been featured on this blog a few times this year. (Although I’m not sure that our building was named.) We have cameras, and found out that a guy was actually using a crowbar to pry open the lock on the front door in the middle of the night. We ended up soldering the key lock and installing a magnetic lock so that it could no longer be pried open. We also installed a door to our mailroom so that only residents/persons with keys could access it. We’ve had a few issues since then – we had one instance where someone talked their way into the mailroom on an unsuspecting resident. Other than that, the thefts have been almost eliminated.

    • I lived there a few years ago. I had a pair of shoes stolen. The thief also took some wedding gifts and Omaha steaks (he left the cooler).

  • we noticed a lot of marks on our door frame, looked like someone was using a screwdriver type implement to break in. we had a locksmith install a metal plate to prevent that.

  • Video of the theft of a package left by a UPS driver on 12th Place (between 12th & 13th Streets just off Florida Ave.:

    12th Place has been getting hit hard in the last few months and these guys are still regularly seen casing the neighborhood.

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