Another Package Thief in Action

A reader sends from Columbia Heights:

“Unfortunately it’s just a side and back view, but here’s video of someone stealing a package from my front porch earlier yesterday. Anyone seen this guy?”

51 Comment

  • Someone stole a package that contained a stool test kit off my porch. Though it was a new kit, and yet to be completed, I bet I won’t need to worry about them coming back again for more!

  • Yes – he is an asshole for doing this. But also, when will people also learn to stop having packages sent to their house? Haven’t we seen enough of these videos to know better?

    • What is the other option? Many of us can’t have packages delivered to work.

        • That was +1 to “What is the other option? Many of us can’t have packages delivered to work.”

          • Amazon has local businesses where packages can be delivered and picked up from. UPS packages can be delivered to UPS stores for pickup. Fed Ex can be instructed to hold your packages at the central pick up location. Whether any of those options is convenient for you is a separate question.

          • I think last time the topic came up, the upshot was that Amazon packages can be held at 7-Eleven “lockers”… but so far, that includes only 7-Eleven stores in Virginia. (Someone was saying that Amazon was reluctant to institute “lockers” in D.C. because then customers would be required to pay D.C. sales tax at the time of purchase, whereas it already had a warehouse or something in Virginia, so it didn’t make a difference to Virginia-based customers.)
            FedEx’s pickup location (near the Florida-New York Ave. clusterf*** intersection) is pretty convenient, IMO. The UPS facility in Landover, MD is not so convenient.
            Is there an extra charge to have a UPS package delivered to a UPS Store?

          • UPS has gotten $5 dollars from me more times than I care to admit.

      • po box.
        is it possible to get your packages delivered to fed ex or ups store?

      • This. I’m a consultant that works on client site. Getting packages delivered there is a no-go.

    • Plenty of jobs don’t allow packages and while there has been a recent uptick in thefts, in my case I had no issues for over 2 years. I’ve relocated to a po box but some stuff can’t go there, and it’s cumbersome trying to figure out how best to retrieve my 45lbs of dog food without any parking outside the branch.

      • epric002

        +10 i can’t have packages delivered to work, and *if* we were to have packages delivered to my husband’s job (which i don’t think we could do due to how many we receive) he’d have to drive to work in order to pick them up. it’s inconvenient to have to drive to a drop box, find parking, load the car up with packages, and haul them all back home.

      • Are people actually stealing 45 pound bags of dog food? Seems like too much of a hassle for something with so little resale value.

    • …really?

    • Exactly!
      And when will people also learn to stop driving in cars? Haven’t we seen enough videos of car collissions to know better?

    • When will people also learn to stop writing comments like this? Just because a solution works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone.

    • That’s easy advice to give, but what are the alternatives? Work locations often don’t accept personal packages. So you can rent a PO box at considerable expense to say nothing of the hassle of going to the Post Office to pick up the package.

    • These people basically do the work for the police by catching them yet they STILL can’t catch them.

    • OP here. Sometime people send packages unsolicited and are unlikely to first check for your work address. And sometimes it’s not feasible to have things delivered elsewhere. Obviously this is the sort crime that one risks by living in town. But it would be great if we could address the crime, proactively as well as preventatively, and to get to a place where we can receive packages without too much concern.

  • Totally. Tell me how this MY fault for having a package delivered to my private property? There is too much sympathy for criminals in this town. Package thefts are seriously so prevalent in Columbia Heights. All between like Park Rd and Spring Rd. Where are the police???

    • This blog does blame the victim too much. Package thefts are happening all over town. I stopped a guy stealing from a neighbor. He was acting like he was dropping flyers as a cover.

    • If someone steals a package from your porch, it’s not your fault for having the package delivered to your property. It’s also not your fault if you leave the keys in your car and someone drives away with it. Or if someone steals your bike while it’s left somewhere unchained. In each case, the fault lies with the person who committed the crime. But that’s cold comfort for you because you are the one who has lost the property. So you can either continue to have packages delivered to your house because you ought to be able to do that. Or you can recognize that package theft is a crime of opportunity and that having packages sit on a porch for an extended period of time creates the opportunity for the crime to happen.

  • Someone should place some fake packages on porches with dog or cat poop in them. Bonus if you have a camera!

    • Or maybe something akin to a Bank Vault faux bag…. once its picked up a string pulls a timer and 10 feet away it explodes with bright blue die that will not wash off for months…

      It worked at the bank.

  • So casual, probably done this dozens of times.

  • I saw this kid (or someone who looks a LOT like him) riding by on a bike yesterday, looking closely at each porch on my street in Columbia Heights.

    • Cool story, bro

      • Enough with the dismissive anonymous comments. The info that this thief (or another potential thief) is on a bike might help someone recognize him.

    • OP here. Thanks for the info. Where on Columbia do you live? I’ve contacted the police and sounds like you have good info. Would you mind emailing me at zqtqch at gmail?

  • jim_ed

    For people who don’t have other options for package delivery: I recommend just putting something next to your door that will keep packages out of sight. We have a big wicker basket that UPS/FedEx are excellent at leaving our packages in, it keeps them out of view from the street, and we luckily haven’t had any stolen yet. I think package theft is a crime of easy opportunity – a criminal likely won’t invest the time to come up on your porch and search for a package when there are plenty that can be seen from the street elsewhere.

    • Being a more difficult victim than the next one is great for you, but still doesn’t solve the problem that these animals lost any limbs yet.

      • Sounds like your goal is punishment/retribution/vengeance.
        Jim_Ed’s goal is to receive packages without them being stolen, and it sounds like his method is working.

  • I think there is a way to stop this but it’ll take a strong community-wide effort. If everyone with a package thief vulnerability were to start leaving fake packages in front of their houses – packages with trash, poo, exploding paint balls or something else extremely undesirable – then a thief’s inability to discern a poopy package from a real package will begin to outweigh the risk a thief is willing to take to perform a criminal act. If 9 of 10 packages are worthless then a thief will be reluctant about taking 10 risks for 1 unknown reward. This can work but requires a community effort.

    • and time, money, and for many (if not most) people to agree on a plan. Good luck with all that.

      • it requires about 5 minutes, a box and something of no value (that’s the whole point – like trash). no plan necessary, just leave it in front of the house, or wherever packages get stolen from. ill agree that getting everyone on board is the hardest part, so ill give you that. we just need to find a way to create a stronger disincentive to package stealing. all the alternatives presented like drop boxes and cameras (which clearly don’t stop the crime anyway) require installation time and are more expensive then a fake package. i dont believe law enforcement is never gonna really stop this from happening, so we need to find a way to make the rewards of the crime much less appealing. perhaps im just a dreamer, but i think it is possible.

        • I didn’t say *a lot* of time and money. I think you’d be surprised at how little time and money is still too much for some people. Plus how would you measure results? Does anyone actually know how many packages are being stolen to begin with? And who’s going to track the number of fake packages being stolen? The only way you’d know if it was working is if you knew how many fake ones were being stolen, and that number declined over a period of time. And then even if it stopped, how long before it starts again? I think you’re underestimating the amount of coordination it would take to do it right and to actually find out if it was working.

          • the only stat that i think really matters here is the number of *real* packages reported stolen, which is something police are likely tracking anyway. victims will continue to report that. if that number goes down after the fake package scheme is implement then a case could be made for its effectiveness. if the number of reported thefts go down and people begin to let their guard down, i could see theft spiking back up until the scheme is re-implemented. so ya, there is that. its not necessarily sustainable but very few crime prevention methods are.

        • I sense a business opportunity for you. I suspect most people are not motivated enough to do this on their own. Perhaps you can create an array of fake packages and sell them to people. Given that every time there is a package thief thread 10 people mention the fake package idea, there is probably a market.

        • A lot of these guys follow a couple of houses behind the UPS/postal/FedEx trucks as they drop the packages off. So you’ll have to actually MAIL those packages. In addition to the time and money, good luck answering the screening questions about what’s in the package.

      • Always the A-nons are so negative….

        • Well I’ve seen people talk about it a hundred times and seen people do it zero times, so you may think it’s “negative” but it appears that I’m onto something. At least my comment talked about the issue and not just the person who wrote it..

  • Found a stolen package in my backyard this afternoon. Thief didn’t want the item. So, I returned to the address. It was stolen from a house right across the street from police station on V.

  • About a month ago I was watching a mail stealing operation going on on holmead place in Columbia heights. I called the police and although they were driving around and I had given a easy description of the person there was no action at all. FIRST – I had noticed a Latino man leading a group of 3 intoxicated men on the street. It appeared they were giving instructions. Then one very intoxicated man stayed behind sitting on someone’s steps while the rest of the group walked off. After a little while the man started going house to house and taking the mail from people’s mailboxes and going through it removing and stealing pieces of mail. He was drunk and very obvious, house to house and taking his time. I called the police and the man carried in eventually losing sight of him. A short time later he came back up holmead place and and a police car drove by him without stopping or noticing. When a ups truck pulled up to a house to deliver a package he stood and stared in a trance. He continued to watch as a resident came out and brought the package inside. Then he started up the other part of the street he hadn’t violated. Again a police car drove by without taking notice. I definitely saw him remove mail and steal it. It was really weird that he was so intoxicated, and it seemed as though the sober man leading the group earlier was some sort of leader.

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