HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Crimestoppers said porch pirate thieves are starting well ahead of the holiday shopping season, and thieves know shoppers are getting an early online start due to the shipping delays across the country.
Crimestoppers shared a video of a woman accused of taking a package from an Ewa Beach doorstep at Hoakalei around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
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KHON2 spoke to the homeowner who wasn’t home at the time of the theft but went through his door cam video a few days later.
“I actually saw the postman deliver the package and maybe 10 or 20 minutes later, that’s when she came and grabbed it,” explained the Ewa Beach resident Tony.
He said inside the package was a 17-piece knife set his wife ordered on Amazon.
The resident was surprised the woman didn’t wear a mask and just walked straight to his doorstep in broad daylight, grabbed it, and ran.
“That’s how bold she is,” he said.
Officials say door cameras are good to have and typically deter thieves.
“I think this female was so fixated on that box,” explained Sgt. Chris Kim, Honolulu Crimestoppers coordinator. “She wanted whatever was in there, that she failed to look up and realize that there was a camera there,”
He said door cam footage helps the investigation, and the public can help identify who the person is.
Some customers opt for delivery alerts via text or e-mail, but thieves are moving quickly. Sgt. Kim said a Mililani woman recently filed a complaint after she received a text alert stating her package was outside her door.
“Within two minutes of receiving this alert, she walked out to the front door and discovered that the package was missing,” Sgt. Kim said.
“We have reason to believe, and we’re receiving information that these people are basically following delivery trucks,” Sgt. Kim continued.
Crimstoppers said people should call the police if they see suspicious cars following delivery drivers.
“That is very concerning to us,” said Brian Shaughnessy, U.S. Postal Inspector in Honolulu. “Stealing mail is a serious federal offense. It carries with it a term of imprisonment of up to five years per count, as well as a fine of up to $250,000.”
The USPS also has a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of people involved.
“We’ve had successful prosecution in many of these cases over the years,” explained Shaughnessy.
- Retrieve mail as soon as possible after delivery.
- Insure important mailings with the USPS and have important packages sent to a workplace or a trusted neighbor who will be home at the time of delivery.
- Customize parcel deliveries – provide the Post Office delivery instructions online, which can include listing a specific delivery location, or request domestic packages be rerouted to an alternate address.
- Use the Hold for Pickup feature on www.usps.com to have parcels held at the local Post Office.
- If traveling, submit a mail hold online for up to 30 days.
- If possible, require a signature upon delivery
- If a parcel is lost or stolen, inquire with the shipper about any insurance they may have on the item
- Install security cameras
- Report suspicious activity to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (877-876-2455 / www.uspis.gov) and to the local police department.
- Consider purchasing a locking mailbox.
Interested in jewelry heists gone wrong, other strange news? Check out Weird News
Specifically for letter mail, consider handing outgoing mail to the letter carrier or depositing it at the Post Office. Also, when using blue collection boxes, avoid depositing mail in the box when it’s full to the point you can see the mail.