NE Portland woman frustrated with package theft; number of reports rise during holidays

Security cameras captured the suspects swiping packages off of a Northeast Portland woman's porch.

A Northeast Portland woman is frustrated after two packages were swiped off her front porch, which serves as a lesson for millions more as we move into the busiest time of year for package deliveries.

Stephanie Goff received two deliveries on Nov. 16: a food delivery from Hello Fresh and pet food from Chewy.com. Shortly after each package was delivered, her surveillance cameras caught two people walking off with both packages.

“My jaw dropped, and I'm like, are you really serious right now?” said Goff.

First, a woman walked up to her doorstep and stole the Hello Fresh delivery.

“Her eyes were just focused right on the box, and she just went down like this, and up, and just walked off,” said Goff while demonstrating the theft.

“Within the next couple minutes, here comes the gentleman with her, grabs the Chewy.com box, loads it in the trunk, and they take off,” she said.

Since then, she put up signs on her front door notifying everyone that they are being filmed. While both companies replaced the stolen deliveries, Goff says this is a frustrating experience.

“If I got home today at 5 o'clock, would this be here?” she said, motioning to another delivery box on her front porch.

Goff’s cameras captured clear images of both package thieves, a man and a woman, who Portland police identified as the suspects. She also spoke with neighbors and kept a watchful eye on her street. Goff says both suspects regularly drive up and down her street in their white Mazda and often hang around a motel a few blocks away.

Chris Burley, a spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau, says they are assigning a detective to her case. That, he says, does not always happen for property crime like this. In most cases, Burley says victims have little solid evidence that they can share with police. However, because of the clear video and the extra information she was able to provide officers, they may be able to catch the suspects.

Burley says surveillance cameras are a huge help to police and one of the best ways to help catch a package thief. He says victims should also talk to their neighbors to determine if it is a trend in the area.

Meanwhile, Goff’s experience serves as a reminder for others around the metro area as we enter the busiest time of year for package deliveries. Portland police say they usually see a rise in reports of package theft during the holidays; they are crimes of opportunity. In some cases, Burley says thieves have been known to follow delivery trucks through neighborhoods.

Burley suggests tracking packages online if you can. If you cannot be home for a delivery, he says you should check with your employer to see if you can have a package delivered there instead. If not at work, he says you can ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to accept your delivery.

The United States Postal Inspection Service released its top ten tips for package safety on Monday.

1. Avoid sending cash by mail
2. Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended for a long period of time, or overnight
3. Consider an alternate shipping address, like a family member, friend, neighbor, or work
4. Change the package’s address while in transit if you know you will not be home to accept the package
5. Customize the delivery by giving the mail carrier specific instructions
6. Hold packages for pick up at your local post office
7. Hold your mail at the post office if you will be out of town
8. Require a signature to accept the package
9. Choose Registered Mail service for valuable deliveries
10. Rent a PO Box

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