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Stolen Packages From Front Porches A Statewide Trend

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore County police call it an easy-target crime. Now they’re searching for two thieves who ripped off Christmas packages left on front porches.

Gigi Barnett reports it’s a trend police statewide saw this holiday.

Palmer Murray and his family went on vacation the week before Christmas.

“We went to Puerto Rico for a couple of days,” Murray said.

They made sure packages arrived just in time for the holiday. But when they returned home, one of the packages containing lacrosse equipment was missing–stolen right from their front porch.

“One of our neighbors actually saw two guys drive by and take something and leave, and I guess he didn’t think anything of it,” Murray said.

Police say a few blocks away from the Murrays, thieves swiped holiday packages from a house in the 400 block of Overbrook Road, too.

And officers say the crimes are connected.

“We have witnesses to both of these crimes, and they’ve described similar suspects,” said Baltimore County police spokesman Shawn Vinson.

Police are tracking the trend statewide.

Last week, Howard County police released surveillance video of a front-porch thief in action. The woman gets out of her car, walks up to a house in Ellicott City. Seconds later, she’s back–carrying the stolen package to her car, and takes off.

Police say thieves don’t necessarily know what’s inside the boxes.

“A lot of the thefts, the thieves aren’t looking for the actual packages they’re taking,” Officer Vinson said. “They’re going to convert it to money and take it to a pawn shop or a second hand shop.”

As for the Murrays, from now on their packages won’t sit in plain sight for thieves to swipe.

“It’s just sort of desperate people that need something to sell or something like that. It’s kind of inconsiderate,” Murray said.

Police say this is a crime that can happen year round, so protect yourself by asking a neighbor to sign for your packages if you’re not going to be at home. And use online tracking services.

Baltimore County police are looking for two men in their 20s driving a teal Dodge vehicle. They believe both thefts are connected.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • Steve Wilson

    This is a result of UPS, FedX, etc delivering based on volume rather than confirming delivery. They constantly deliver by leaving packages anywhere “close” to the house. I haven’t signed for a package in years even though there is always someone here. I wonder how often “missing” packages are not really “missing” but simply reported “missing” and charged back to the seller? Another question: Why are these delivery companies allowed to leave their vehicles running all the time? I seem to remember a state law forbidding that to cut down on vehicle theft. Is there somewhere in the law that exempts UPS, FedX, etc?

    • Ron Beach Sr.

      I take offense to this comment by Steve! He may report packages missing and gets a refund because he is poor or out of work but this world was built on honest God loving people. Its atheist who destroy the world not us! UPS earlier in the year delivered heavy packages that were marked fragile yet filmed them throwing them down on the porch. Four deliveres later, they got it right. I have had mail stolen from mailbox, not received a packagein the past but you know what Steve? I still see the good in people and thats the difference between you and me.

      • Jeff

        Crime knows no religion. You can believe in God and still comit crimes.

    • Jeff Adamson

      AS for USPS, most packages dont have to be signed for, unless they are certified, registered or “signature confirmation” and those choices are determined by the mailer, not the deliverer.
      As for vehicles left running….USPS forbids an employee to exit a running vehicle. Matter-or-fact, we have to curb our wheels and set the break AFTER putting it in PARK and turning off the engine.
      Those other guys….they do whatever they want.

  • Liberal Soldier

    I would prefer the delivery company to hold the item and I pick it up. The days of civility and good manners in America is over. Thanks in part to poor or non-existent parenting of children who grow up with no morales or values.

    • Jeff Adamson

      If you would prefer that, make sure you tell your mailman, UPS or FEDEX driver. They would prefer to leave notice over getting a customer complaint.
      Also, some mailers allow you to put comments in your shipping info, like”Please leave a notice if no one is home to receive package”.

      • Jeff

        It’s up to the sender. You have to check a box if you want a signature for delivery. Otherwise they leave it at your door.

  • steve

    Thats why I just throw them over their fence….and its FedEx…

  • Jeff Adamson

    “We went to Puerto Rico for a couple of days,” Murray said.
    Hey, why didnt you notify your mailman that you were going away? Perhaps put your mail on hold? Duh? This is why I never leave packages even if the packages says “Leave if no response”.


    Hmmmm…..think I’ll order a box of Rattlesnakes!

    • Liberal Soldier

      LOL. Now that is the best comment I have read yet. You go Debbie!!!!!

  • Jenn

    I work for a delivery company, and we schedule with the customer a convenient day for them to accept (m-f). The driver will call up to 1 hour ahead in advance for someone to meet him at the residence. bad part is some people still aren’t happy and expect an exact time not realizing that we try to accommodate everyone we can and we cant always pin point an exact time!

  • kneelljurnono

    I’m really surprised of level of that internet page. I’ve never seen so terrible articles, absolutely waste of time!

  • white folks steal too

    wait…u mean to tell me a white woman stole something??!! whaaaaaaaat??!!

    • white crime black crime

      lol! Also let’s not forget they molest little children, go to school with guns, AND rob the country blind on Wall Street!

  • Steve Wilson

    Where in my post do I mention anything about religion? And where do I say anything about my reporting packages missing? Ron Beach Sr. has a major problem and should seek professional; (not religious) help.

    As for the USPS rules, in my experience, I have not seen USPS employees shutting their vehicles off, much less curbing their wheels.

  • tracey

    Can’t police get that woman’s tag number from enhancing the video?? I think thieves are watching mail carriers and delivery drivers to see where the packages are being dropped off so they know what homes to hit. In that case, they need to be to keep a vigilent eye out for people that may be following and watching them in communities.

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