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“Brazen Package Thefts”

by Prince Of Petworth December 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm 24 Comments


Ed. Note: MPD warned we were entering prime package theft season and gave some tips.

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to alert the neighborhood of Adams Morgan and readers about a very scary break-in/package theft that occurred last weekend in Lanier Heights on Adams Mill Road NW. A handful of neighbors at our condo building reported missing packages right after Thanksgiving, and when we went to our security cameras to determine what happened, the findings were scary to say the least. Around 4:40 AM on Saturday, November 28, three men gained entry into our building through the front door, and proceeded to grab all of our packages in the lobby and take them to the stairwell, where they tore up the boxes, took the contents, and left all of the packaging behind. Our security cameras were able to catch their descriptions, which were given to DCPD along with police reports. If you recognize any of these individuals, please let the police know so that we can prevent this from happening again.

To our Adams Morgan neighbors – please be aware and safe, especially around the holiday season. It’s unfortunate that this happened, but thieves in the area know when people are away from their homes and prey on those situations.”

Another reader writes:

“At roughly 5:00pm we caught a guy trying to steal our neighbor’s packages off of the stoop. My boyfriend confronted him and took the packages away from him. The guy left but only after asking “Are you sure these are your packages?” and being unsuccessful in scaring off my boyfriend. He was roughly five foot eight, had a twisted afro sort of hairstyle, and walked off casually into the alley off of 11th & Irving.”

  • anon85

    we had similarly brazen thefts at our condo on the Hill – all our packages, and some neighbors’ packages, went missing over Thanksgiving weekend. it’s a real pain to have everything shipped to work, but it’s the only way to keep things from getting stolen, it seems. thankfully all my stolen items were from Amazon and therefore replaced for free, but I’m sure others were not so lucky. and be sure to tell any family members who may be sending packages to direct them to your office or a UPS/FedEx store, locker, etc.

    • Marty

      UPS/Fedex get into my (federal) building fine, and deliver as expected, but USPS shipments must be screened someplace else and brought over by a slow, elderly, mail person. Amazon generally insists on shipping USPS, which makes it a hassle for me. It’s easier to just plan to be home when the package is expected to be delivered. (Of course, my mailman doesn’t always knock or make enough noise for me to know that there is a package on the porch, but that’s another issue.)

      • JoDa

        We were told several years ago that having personal items delivered to our building was now a federal offense. Are they checking that vigorously? Probably not. But I’d do a little digging to make sure you’re not violating policy by having stuff shipped to your office. It would really suck to go through the investigation, if not potential penalties, over a few packages.

        • TinkerTaylor

          Yeah, I used to do this before my current job which explicitly prohibits delivery of personal packages by policy. Such a pain. We now spend a couple hundred dollars a year on a box at shipping store to make sure our packages arrive. Offsets the free shipping!

        • anon85

          i work for a private org so no issues with fed regulations … also, USPS delivers very sporadically to my condo – sometimes at noon, sometimes at 10 pm – so, not really possible to schedule to be home “when the package is expected to be delivered” – also, some of us don’t live in actual houses, with porches – all packages to the condo are delivered under the mailboxes in piles.

          i was just throwing some tips out there in case they may be helpful to someone out there … lockers and shipping to stores are always good options if you are in a federal building.

          • JoDa

            anon85, I think I and Tinker were replying directly to Marty to encourage him/her to exercise caution so that he/she doesn’t lose his/her job (or even just be investigated, because that sucks) over breaking the rules/laws by having packages delivered to his/her office. Of course, if your office allows you to receive personal packages, that is generally a good option, and something I would recommend. I had a couple of blissful years as a fed before the 2008 “no personal mail” rules went into effect, and, back then, I had all packages sent to my office. The only complication I had was that all mail was irradiated, and that will yellow the paper that concert/event tickets were printed on. Still readable, game on! Now, well, I’m glad that I have a similar lobby, with more pry-proof door locks, and my neighbors are conscientious and will drop peoples’ packages at their door if the lobby has a bunch in them…

  • Petworth_dude

    “…and being unsuccessful in scaring off my boyfriend.”

    What did he do, yell “boo” or something?

  • anonymous Adams Morgan

    I live very near here and have started using the package service at BaseCamp. I really recommend it – much improved peace of mind.
    That said, if I had package-delivery to a locked foyer, I would absolutely assume my stuff was safe. This is really unnerving.

    • jdre

      Does this building have front desk staff? I’m confused.

      • FridayGirl

        My old apartment entrance looked similar. USPS had a key to the front door, other packages left on the stoop but usually brought in by the mailman or another resident. However, some residents wouldn’t close the door all the way upon entering/leaving the building (or would prop it open ever so slightly for guests). It drove me absolutely nuts because I don’t think people realize how dangerous it can be! Never assumed a foyer without a front desk is secure.

      • Anon Spock

        Are most front desks staffed 24/7? Real question; never lived with one.

        • andy2

          Depends on the building but my old building was.

          This sucks!

        • FridayGirl

          My current building is, but I’m sure that not all are.

    • Orly

      What is BaseCamp?

      • Glen

        They offer a package concierge service (annual fee + per package). Personally, I just go with the Amazon locker delivery option, which is along my commute in Arlington.


  • Admo_Anon

    We had a similar scenario in our apartment on Adams Mill Rd NW a couple weeks ago. Seems like it may be the same scenario-three men, sometime around 3am, they forced the door open, a resident happened to hear them and disrupt it and they fled the scene. We’ve started encouraging residents to be neighborly and drop off packages at the doors if they notice there is something in the foyer.

  • dcd

    I’m sure they’re just protesting gentrification.

  • JohnH

    Sign up for an account at UPS, FedEx, etc. UPS is great – they alert you when a package is coming your way when it is shipped, you can sign for it or leave delivery instructions (or leave with a neighbor). My driver does a great job of hiding packages where I instruct them to. Of course, this won’t work for everyone, but there’s a lot of solutions out there to help avoid this problem.

  • JoDa

    OP, if you’re following up, how did they get in? Did they pry the lock? Does your building have anti-pry plates on the lock (something like this: http://bulgerlock.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/latch_guard.jpg). Just curious because our building has a similar set-up (locked lobby where packages are left, and we do have those anti-pry plates) and I’d like to know what our risk is and how to minimize it…

  • PDinDC

    After having our Christmas decorations stolen we opted to have an exploding glitter bomb delivered to our doorstep. Might try the annoying box of sand next :) http://www.ruindays.com

  • MC

    Hey, to answer the questions, I’m not the OP but live in the building (those are our packages in the picture, unfortunately). There is no front desk. As for how they got in, I’d rather not broadcast a how-to manual, but the door is the magnetic locking kind with fob access, and it was forced open. Nobody let them in.

  • Chimbo

    This notion we incarcerate too many people is false. We don’t incarcerate nearly enough. These people should be off the streets. But either they won’t be pursued at all or the judiciary system will left them off easy..

    • niceflipflop

      Hmm, yeah. Pretty sure most people aren’t advocating for not locking up thieves there, Chimbo. They’re talking about recreational drug users.

      • Chimbo

        Non-Violent Drug related incarcerations in state prisons represent only 7% of inmates. This is a fact that consistently gets left out of the propoganda. Yet the goals of those who want to reduce incarceration is to cut the prison population by more than half…


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