Billions of dollars in Cyber Monday purchases will soon be headed to customers anxiously awaiting their arrival. Police say thieves are also looking forward to the deliveries, but add there are ways to protect against holiday-season crooks. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Valley Village for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2012.
Online shoppers are estimated to spend up to $1.5 billion during Cyber Monday – the virtual equivalent to Black Friday’s door-busting, post-Thanksgiving deals – and the packages that will subsequently be delivered are becoming a prime target for holiday-season thieves.
Thanks to the growing popularity of home surveillance cameras, it's easy to see examples of home delivery thefts. Dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube.
There's the one with the big flat screen TV being whisked away. There's the boxed up children's bicycle snatched by a man in a construction helmet. And the man who apparently lived next door doing something not-so-neighborly: grabbing a box right off the porch.
"If it's left on your doorstep, it's just kinda waving, 'Hey, here I am. Come and get me,'" said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, with the Glendale Police Department.
This year, on-line shopping for Cyber Monday alone will probably add up to $1.5 billion. Mirna Stanley, who is president of her local homeowners association, added her contribution. And now she knows that to close the deal, she must safely receive her delivery.
"It can happen anywhere, as you know," said Stanley. "I mean, people rob churches, for Pete's sake."
Stanley said she or her husband will always be home to accept an expected box. If not, their attentive guard dog, Boo, will be on high alert.
Police said delivery truck drivers are now trained to spot thieves who might be following them and large retailers will often give customers the option to deliver goods to the store instead of a house.
But if customers absolutely have to be away when a delivery is due, Lorenz offered this advice:
"Have it delivered to your office," he said. "There's someone there 24 hours, usually."