50 Comment

  • I think that dog knew exactly what was going on!

  • Would have been hilarious if someone stole his bike and bag while he went down the basement stairs to open the box.

  • Criminals in my neighborhood regularly go around bragging about how they’ll never be caught. That the cops will never arrest them. Are they right? I’d love to know the arrest rate for crimes such as package theft, car break-ins or robberies.

    • ah

      Disturbingly low.

    • Outside of having a police officer on every block, what would you want them to do?
      .
      I’d like to see more cops on foot vs car, but the sheer numbers make it impossible to impact package thefts.

    • I’d like to see police actually follow up and try to catch these guys. You have the picture. Now go find them. I bet if a cop walked around to the liquor stores in the are with this pic, someone would be like – yep, that’s willy. Or whatever. Instead the cops give up without even trying.

      • implying they don’t do anything is not very helpful. I had a photo from an attempted break in used to successfully ID and prosecute someone. And my neighbor had a photo from a bike robbery used to ID and prosecute someone. Just because they aren’t successful, doesn’t mean nobody tried. And when there are IDs needed for murders, I’m not sure the package theft is what they’ll ask the public on the local news for help on.
        .
        Also, you’re also assuming the people who submit this stuff on a blog took the time to file a police report. We have seen many examples on here where they did not. Cops don’t peruse blogs to find out what they should investigate.

  • Package theft videos have become my new guilty viewing pleasures. The non-chalant nature of some of these people is incredible. That being said, stunning clarity on this one – go Nest. Puts my Arlo Pros to shame. I especially love the stretching, the ‘appear casual for a while’ shtick. Awesome.

  • I still don’t understand why people have packages delivered to their homes when they aren’t there. I’ve lived in other big cities as an adult for decades now and I would never be so foolish as to do so. I really don’t get it.

    • What other options do people have? My work doesn’t allow personal packages to be delivered there. Sure you can pick stuff up at FedEx store but with UPS and USPS you really don’t have options if you can’t get them at work.

    • I work at a government agency and can’t have them sent there like I could when I worked at a consulting firm and it isn’t always easy to find a workable alternative. Luckily I live on the corner and just have them toss it over the back fence.

    • I couldn’t pay attention to the video. I was overwhelmed in my desire to correct the spelling of “Theif”

    • Amen,

      And having lived in a handful of other, larger cities than DC around the nation I can say with absolute certainty that I have never seen the level of package theft as I’ve seen in DC.

      Your options if you are one of the relatively few people who can’t get packages at work?

      Get a mailbox at the closes USPS
      Redirect your Amazon package to the nearest Amazon Locker for pickup, which are plentiful.
      Have your package shipped to a UPS store
      Have your Package shipped to a FedEx store.

      There are tons of options, none of them involve continuing to get packages delivered to your house when you know you have a pretty decent chance of being stolen before you get home.

      • Amazon lockers are not “plentiful” IN DC. I think there are only two, and those are relatively recent. I live in NE DC and don’t have a Locker, UPS store or FedEx store near me. Would require me getting a car2go or a long metro trip every time I wanted a package. And my post office is far enough away from my house that I’d never make it there during the limited hours it is open during the week. It isn’t as easy or simple as you make it out to be.

    • Some folks really need to have heavy articles like dog food delivered to their homes because they don’t have cars and are disabled…

      • In my old neighborhood (Shaw!) I found a box containing a 40-pound bag of dog food discarded in my driveway. I carried it the four blocks over to the address and returned it to the grateful neighbors. It was a heavy load, but I was grinning the entire time with the knowledge that a) I could restore a little karmic balance by returning someone’s stolen property to them and b) knowing that some stupid thief had carried that thing for blocks, thinking they’d made off with the motherlode of iPads and X-boxes, only to discover it was puppy chow.

    • justinbc

      Almost everywhere you can order from these days is on the hook if your package is stolen, not you, so there’s little incentive for people to go through the extra hassle on the off chance their package is stolen.

    • HaileUnlikely

      FWIW I’ve had several hundred packages delivered in the 13 years that I’ve lived in DC. The number of them that were stolen is exactly one (assuming it wasn’t just delivered to the wrong address). Between the cost savings (Amazon, Wayfair, et al., vs best deal for comparable product available locally) and the convenience, I came out way ahead, and would have even if I had to eat the cost of the one stolen item, which I didn’t (Amazon just sent me a new one).

  • it’s very convenient that his stolen bicycle has a basket on the back for his stolen packages. most petty thieves don’t plan so well.

  • Well, you may be down a package, but your landscaping is beautiful!

  • My best guess is that he is the man who sits on the unit block of T NW near Rustik and asks every dog owner “hey is that a boy or a girl?” every single time, no matter how many times he’s seen you. The voice sounds the same and the face looks somewhat similar. But, this guy seems more agile and maybe a different posture than the guy I’m thinking of. He’s quasi homeless and clearly these sorts of crimes are ones of desperation and opportunity. Doesn’t make them any less of an invasion or annoyance. Has happened to me – but ultimately we all pay the price in higher Amazon costs…

    • Watched it a few more times. I’d put the likelihood close to 90% that it’s him. The hunched over walk at the beginning and the slurring of speech/lack of teeth diction during the exchange help me increase my certainty. Voice inflection sounds very similar. I still can’t see him scoot up stairs or stretch quite so well, but it’s certainly possible. Never seen him on a bike. Good to know he’s a thief. He hangs out in close proximity to T St often. You’ll see him around if you walk around enough.

  • Xmas in March! Obviously this guy was on Santa’s “nice” list. What’d he get?

  • Its actually hard to see his face he keeps his head down when he gets close to the camera but the video quality is good.

  • smooth! not!

  • I’m interested that the posts on this subject are focused on a “what can I do about this on my own” approach, e.g., ship the package to work address, open a post office box, have it held at the UPS store. It seems to me the easiest and least contrived response to this problem is, get to know your neighbors better and work together to solve it.

    When I see a package on my neighbors’ porch I either call and offer to take it (if I have their work number), or just take it and leave a note for them. Have done this several times, no one has ever been upset that I took the initiative.

    Those who are at home during the day, like that woman walking the dog, should be empowered to take the package off her neighbor’s porch so her neighbor doesn’t lose it to a thief. Or the OP should be able to ask if he or she may ship the package to the house of a neighbor the OP knows is going to be at home. Host a potluck and get your neighbors together to discuss, or ask your ANC representative to help you organize a gathering. Getting to know your neighbors makes the neighborhood safer.

    Activating the community on dealing with this scourge also opens the door to solving other problems together.

  • I like that little tree with the purple flowers. Anyone know what it is?

  • Talk about bringing attention to oneself… full body stretch, shoe tying., conversation with pet owner……. as I see it if the package is carelessly left at a residence its an set up for thief…. and that is one hell of a good camera… I enjoyed the chirping birds too

  • Here’s a suggestion: KramerBooks/Dupont Circle, for example, will order any book for you and keep it at the store for pick up. Prevents theft, helps bookstores, and gets you out on the town a bit.

    • From the video, it looks like it’s some kind of electronic item that’s being stolen, not a book.

      • Also, Kramer is no where near Bloomingdale. That might help someone that lives or works in Dupont, but not the owner of this house.
        .
        My suggestion is to get a locking porchbox if you are in a high traffic area like this. You can make one for cheap.

        • Locking porch box would work if your delivery people are reasonable. Leave an open padlock inside with a note to lock it after delivering the package, and note on the door to put the package in the box. You could make one, or there are plenty online for $50-75 that you could add a lock latch to fairly easily (or ones with built-in lock latches at higher prices). The only trick would be to make sure you don’t get packages delivered by more than one service on the same day (which sounds easy, but sometimes if you order a couple things at once, particularly from Amazon, individual items will ship by different carriers)…the online tools can help with this, you could delay delivery of some by a day if you found that your packages were coming on the same day from different carriers. Our UPS guy is great, and I’d outright give him a key/combo to the box, but he’s usually here first thing in the morning while USPS and Fedex come later.
          .
          A non-locking box would probably even work 75% of the time (as we see in most of these, the thief walks by and sees the package…yes, there are those who follow the drivers, but it’s not most of them), but not if you have a note on the door telling drivers to put packages in it.

  • Did you notice the woman with the dog was walking on the sidewalk but went into the street to avoid the man then turned back onto the sidewalk? The camera is really in the wrong place to get a good shot of his face. The home owner should really talk to his UPS driver and tell him to leave the packages hidden on the side of the porch (not at the top of the stairs) or in the basement.

    • she might have done so to avoid interactions between the dog and the guy. lots of people with larger dogs do that to make pedestrians more comfortable. or if the dog has behavior issues.

  • probably a naïve thought, but: if a victim knows who the thief is (e.g., get the name of the guy who sits on the corner of T and RI), and the police won’t do anything, is it possible (and worth while) to sue the person civilly? I assume via small claims court. or could a community organization even be the conduit for community members to do so? if the numbers were great enough, maybe word would get out to the thieves?

  • Sensible delivery people would also be helpful. I have a niche on my front stoop where packages are not visible. Also a basement entrance where they are even less visible. Today a friend dropped off a bag of old towels (for pregnant cat) and knew to put them in the niche. But a delivery – supposing UPS – from Amazon of a new printer – was left in plain sight outside my front door. I suspect half of all package thefts would be prevented if delivery people were just instructed in the basics of common sense.

    • HaileUnlikely

      It’s not common sense, it’s the incentive structure associated with the business model. The UPS drivers aren’t held liable for the stolen packages, nor is their company; the shipper (e.g., Amazon or whoever) ends up eating it. For the driver, time is money. By not taking even an additional 10 seconds putting your package somewhere better, and not incurring any form of liability when your package is stolen, the driver comes out ahead.

      • I have to guess that there is more to it than this. I have requested and demanded that Amazon use “signature required” on my packages and yet UPS still will just leave them at the door. The “signature” sometimes is “front door”. UPS really makes it difficult for any comment to get beyond the neighborhood level. I finally called Amazon and demanded that they stop using UPS to ship my packages because they just will not follow the instructions. Amazon’s response to me: yeah, we don’t really care. We’ll just ship another product”
        Unfortunately, this type of attitude then makes it so that people accept the idea that thievery is the norm and acceptable. Then when you get a handmade item that doesn’t come with an Amazon SKU, you’re screwed.
        On the other hand, I’ve never had a package stolen, despite the majority of my shopping being done online, but all of my neighbors have. I am not sure why, but it could have to do with more steps than my other neighbors, or a big obvious camera on the front porch, or a porch light that is always on (dusk through dawn). I know I’ve been lucky so far.