At a Certain Point We May Need To Admit That This Whole Package Delivery Thing Isn’t Working Out As Is


A reader reports:

“We live on Kenyon St between Sherman and Georgia. During this month, we’ve had two separate package thieves. The Third District is putting together fliers of both suspects to circulate.”

Ed. Note: I was only able to get one video to work.

63 Comment

  • Wow, she was just so casual about it.

    • Obviously. That’s how you steal things without anyone noticing.

    • How did she even see the package if she had just been walking by? It seemed like she knew it was there (maybe a partner following the delivery truck?)
      This is truly brazen and I thought I was relatively safe because I have a fair number of steps leading up to my door.

      • I was wondering whether there might have been footage from earlier that might have shown her walking past and scouting the place out.

  • Seems to be working out pretty well the thieves.

  • I’ve had a UPS store box since I moved to the District in 2008. It has worked out great.

    • I was going to ask this, this sucks obviously, but wouldn’t it be better to just get a PO Box or a store box so that packages can be delivered there? Or even at work if their job allows it. Some are too trust worthy of their surroundings.

      • you can request all your UPS packages to be held at a UPS Access Point. There are hundreds of them in the city

        • HaileUnlikely

          Generally agreed, with the mad huge asterisk that those options are less helpful if one is getting large items and doesn’t have a car, and some people rely on package delivery specifically *because* they can’t get out. (e.g., if ill, injured, etc)

        • Tsar of Truxton

          The big problem with this is if UPS is handing off to USPS for the final delivery, you can’t hold it. I wish they would change that.

        • I stopped using the UPS Access Points in my neighborhood when they started rejecting certain packages. Many UPS Access Points are small-sized local businesses, and I learned that they’ll sometimes reject a package if they think it’s too big to store. Also, if there’s only one staff member there and they’re not terribly familiar with the UPS Access Point program, they may just reject it because they’re confused. I’ve had both of these things happen at multiple locations. I’d say it’s not worth it unless you find a very reliable Access Point with a large on-site staff.

          • Yeah, the definitely DON’T accept every package at a UPS access points, or FedEx for that matter. I live on 13th St in Columbia Heights, two blocks away from both a FedEx store and UPS Store. I have had electronics scheduled for delivery (a phone, a computer, and a tv) and asked for delivery to the store. All have been rejected, saying that a ‘delivery attempt needed to be made’, when these things don’t require signatures.

            Reasons for rejection? Apparently the companies and UPS/FedEx have contracts that prevent it? For reasons that COMPLETELY elude me, because isn’t that safer for everyone? After fighting for literally 2+ hours on the phone about the TV, I got around the ‘contract’ prohibition – only to be told the TV was too big to hold? It was a 32 inch flat screen. What the heck even?

            Moral: It’s all bs.

    • +1 on UPS Store mailbox. They accept all packages, Fedex, USPS, wine, local courier etc. I work from home and have a security camera on the front door but short of having an armed guard sitting on my doorstep, it’s not safe to have packages delivered.

  • That’s high-quality video. What sort of camera are you using?

  • This is awful, just awful. She seems to have just happened to be walking by and grabbed the opportunity. And sauntering up the stairs all casual-like is actually part of the skill of robbery. Looking guilty or moving too fast arouses suspicion. It makes me sad how good she was at it.

  • I have seen people walking down the street walk up to doorsteps and come down with a handful of mail or a package and walk off, crossing the street, seemingly going no where, e.g. just casually getting away from the scene– what do you do? Stop and ask “hey do you live here?” I never know what to do. Of course, they can say “Yes I do” or “Mind your own business” and that would be the end of it any way.

    • Call 911 immediately. Walking up to a house and then walking away with things in your hands is suspicious behavior.

      • I fear accusing someone who lives there and wasting police resources, but I guess I should trust my gut.

        • The police have to spend time following up when people file reports about stolen packages. If you calling in winds up getting a thief arrested then you probably saved a lot of police resources.

        • Next time just trust your gut and call 911.
          Make sure to give them lots of specific information on the person’s appearance:
          – sex
          – race
          – approximate age
          – hair color/length/style
          – hat or other headwear, if any
          – top/jacket
          – pants/skirt/bottoms
          – shoes
          – any carried items (backpack, shopping bag, purse, etc.).
          – approximate height (if you can tell)
          – body type (if noticeable — thin, heavyset, etc.)

  • Just go to the store and buy the stuff yourself. Sheesh.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Basically agreed, though again, there are lots of perfectly good reasons why this might not work well. For a brief non-comprehensive list of examples: item not sold locally, item costs 50% more at local stores, buyer is sick/injured/elderly/disabled, buyer does not have a car and item is big/heavy.

    • I hope you’re talking to the thief, and not victim-blaming.

    • I mean, seriously- the easiest thing to do would just be to stop being the victim of crimes.

      • The post theme is that the package thing is not working out well. Right. We have all the evidence we need. Haste is making waste once again. So, if you want your stuff, why not just go to the store and buy it? (My neighbors have their paper towels delivered!) Lazy bones.

        • @bruno. Uh, how is it “haste?” It takes longer for stuff to arrive by mail than it does to go to the store. Also, I’m going out on a limb and guessing you don’t have young kids or a very demanding job.

          • Longer to arrive, much less time to purchase. C’mon. That’s what it’s about. Get off your iPhone and go shopping. :^0 Meet some people.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I often order online because the prices are so much lower. We can argue about why that is and about the merits of supporting local businesses and all, but that’s another matter for another thread – there are lots of legitimate reasons to have stuff delivered.

          • @Haile. Low prices are pointless if your package is stolen. How many police man hours go to protecting people’s porch parcels, I wonder?

          • bruno — you are one lucky person to not have had to imagine much less understand the problems with your statement. May your life continue to be so blessed.

          • HaileUnlikely

            They aren’t pointless to me – the sellers from which I buy due to low prices will simply send me another one at their expense if it is stolen. Maybe they shouldn’t, but I get to reap the benefits of low prices (eventually) even if the package is stolen 🙂

        • And as many others in this thread have pointed out, not everyone has the capability to shop in person, nor does everyone have the ability to drive somewhere.

          Believe it or not, there’s a whole world out there beyond the bridge of your nose. Perhaps we could focus on solutions to the problem, and not blaming people who have been the victims of theft.

          • This kind of service has only existed for ten or fifteen years. How do you think people used to get provisions? They went to the store…….

          • Bruno – ever hear of a little thing called the Sears’ catalog?

          • The Sears catalog didn’t feature Bounty paper towels, lettuce, and diapers. The point is, how much stuff do you really need delivered to your door? It’s over the top. Just go to the store.

          • Bruno, it’s okay to admit you completely forgot that home delivery of remotely ordered goods has been a thing since the nineteenth century. Or, you can keep moving the goalposts.

          • Waaaay more goods are porch delivered now than in the past —- and the idea was always that someone would be there to accept it. This concept of leaving multiple parcels around unintended is new-ish, and as Dan shows us, it’s s bust. And I buy my lettuce and paper towels around the corner at the store. And on walks I find boxes of stolen stuff.

        • And then you have to invest in a security camera to monitor if your packages are stolen? How much does that cost? :^0 Deduct that from your savings….

        • If my building is an example, people buy lots of stuff online like paper towels that can be had with a pretty short walk. .

          I have a long commute, an often demanding job and, yet there really isn’t that much I “need” to have delivered. And once I found out what sweatshops Amazon runs for distribution, I only do downloads from them. And Amazon is among the worst offenders in making theft attractive–their weekend deliveries come from random vendors and often aren’t even left in buildings where it would be easy to deliver.

          • It’s quite a bit cheaper to buy in bulk online that to go to CVS or even Target (especially without a car). This being said, when I order these things they either go to my front desk, or I request they be held at UPS/FedEx so I can pick them up. I wouldn’t leave them outside.

        • Try finding pants with a 36″ inseam in a store. Most retailers have them but only sell them online only.

          • Great. Now figure out how to prevent package theft. Deliver them to the office, or have them sent to a friend you know will be home. (BTW, aren’t there websites that show you stores in the area where these can be purchased?)

          • HaileUnlikely

            Maybe the OP was home when this package was delivered, but didn’t know it had been delivered, because the delivery guy didn’t ring the doorbell. As noted below, I have been noticing more and more lately that the delivery guys don’t ring the doorbell. I notice it more with LoserShip than with UPS or Fedex (and USPS consistently rings the doorbell), but UPS doesn’t always, and LoserShip never does.

  • I’m not one for victim-blaming, but I truly don’t understand why people expect packages to be delivered to doorsteps and NOT be stolen. I don’t leave my bike unlocked, I don’t leave my car with the keys in it, etc., not because it is my fault if they get stolen, but because it is quite likely to happen, so I protect myself. I have a different perspective on this, because in all the other big cities I’ve lived in, no one had packages left at their door (and the delivery services didn’t leave them there) because it was expected that they would be stolen. I think DC is an outlier somehow in that people think it is a small town or suburbia.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Heck, for all we know they were home, and knew that they’d be home when the package was delivered, but did not know that the package was delivered, because the delivery guy did not even ring the doorbell. I have been noticing more of this lately – USPS always rings the bell, UPS usually but not always does, LoserShip basically never bothers to.

      • +1 to this. At my old apartment where UPS had to leave the package on the stoop, they almost never rang. (The one deliveryman that bothered to rang like, everyone in the whole building to try to get someone to let them drop the packages inside — bless that delivery man, A+ for effort.)

  • We’ve had numerous packages stolen from our stoop on 12th Street near U. I started sending everything to my workplace, but had some furniture delivered recently, thinking no one would bother to haul off a very heavy and irregularly shaped box. I was wrong….on the upside, Wayfair replaces shipments no questions asked.

  • somehow in 6 years of living in upper bloomingdale, i’d never had a package stolen…before this month. twice i’ve come home to packages ripped open on my porch, plus one was out and out stolen. luckily amazon replaced. anything expensive i have delivered to my office, but this shouldn’t have to be the case.

  • This even goes for newspapers. Mine lands on the stoop of the apartment building, and I make sure I get it first thing in the morning. Some mornings, it disappears….. so, even a newspaper can tempt (or perhaps the bag it’s in, used to scoop poop by a passing dog walker).

    • Ah, so you do get stuff delivered. Why don’t you go to your corner store to buy your daily newspaper?

      • A subscription is cheaper than buying at the newsstand price.

        • You know that, and I know that – but it is Bruno who was arguing above that the losses from porch theft outweigh the savings from online deliveries and thus we should get off our butts and go to the store to buy our stuff.

          • Fair enough.

          • It’s only a paper I get on Saturday (Barron’s) and the point is, I make sure I get it right away in the morning because it will be stolen if I don’t. Hey, if you want to leave your packages on the stoop, go ahead! Just don’t cry when they get stolen. Why don’t you put a pot of ash out there too, and some jewelry? No one will be tempted :^) (And a subscription to Barron’s is cheaper than getting it at the newsstand). I do by the NY Times at the store. And I’m glad to see millennials discovered paper newspapers. Yay!

          • oops, ash = cash. No one will take the ash.

  • I live on the same block- had a box delivered Friday that was stolen. I was home nearly all day, but I guess the delivery person didn’t ring the doorbell. Ugh. If I saw someone walking off my porch with my box I’d react pretty poorly!

  • As long as Amazon keeps replacing everything that gets stolen at no cost to me, I will keep taking my chances. At worst, I lose ten minutes calling to report the item stolen and/or have to go to the store to tide myself over.

  • Wow. I’m shocked at those victim blaming. What a strange reality you must live in. I don’t have a car because I can’t afford one. And in case you haven’t noticed, DC has zero craft stores, zero fabric stores, few thrift stores, few gift shops, few independent retail, among dozens of other things it’s missing that are metro accessible. I also have young children so I can’t spend my entire weekend schlepping them on the bus to target to buy baby socks (which, if you’ve been to the ColHi Target you know they are out of EVERYTHING). If you are, in fact, a person who drives everywhere to buy things, you should be glad that most of us are kept off the road and out of your space.

  • Well, yeah, it’s DC! Of course packages get stolen off your porch! I know someone who lives on Kenyon, and this doesn’t surprise me at all.

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