Home Video Captures Package Thief Stealing Loot

Opportunists are seeking quick loot or personal information such as credit card information in package thefts from porches of homes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC4's Consumer Reporter Randy Mac has what you need to know on how to protect yourself against a rising trend where thieves steal postal packages from doorsteps after they are delivered at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014)

    A day before her birthday, Toni Thomas received a special delivery on her front lawn.

    It was courtesy of a neighbor, recorded on Thomas' surveillance system, returning the empty box that was discarded in his yard.

    What had been inside?

    It was a Michael Kors handbag, a gift from Thomas' family.

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    A review of more surveillance video shows what happened.

    "I knew what time the postman came, so we watched it being delivered," Thomas said. "About an hour and a half later we saw someone come up to the door.

    "I see her shadow, but I'm just like, 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God.' I just wanted to know who is this person?"

    The unidentified woman is a thief, the person who steals Thomas' new handbag -- ignoring security signs and the camera, which is visible.

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    Renee Focht, a postal inspector, said that if it's a package, they're looking for merchandise. If they're stealing a letter, they could be looking for information.

    Focht said parcel deliveries have increased with the popularity of online shopping. Despite the theft being a federal offense, there's no shortage of people willing to risk a five-year prison term, she said.

    Package thieves have even followed the trucks, Focht said.

    Thomas has turned over the surveillance video and the possible getaway car to postal inspectors, who've offered some advice -- protect your mail just like you lock your front door.

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    Thomas' gift was a surprise delivery.

    She never had an opportunity to protect the package, a violation that's left her feeling as empty as the box.

    "It's all I can think about ... How do we catch this person?"

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