Chad Rogers was expecting two packages to be delivered to his home one Friday this month.
He never got them.
So Rogers checked the surveillance camera on his porch on Boundary Street Southeast in Olympia. The video showed someone walking up to the porch and stooping over to grab the packages.
Olympia police Lt. Sam Costello said police get lots of calls about stolen packages this time of year. He has even heard of thieves following delivery trucks around and nabbing packages along the way.
National Package Protection Day is Nov. 29, the day many online purchases made on Cyber Monday arrive.
“The best thing people can do for themselves is track packages online if it’s possible, know when they’re going to be there and just try to get them up off the porch as soon as possible,” Costello said.
He also suggested using lock boxes or surveillance cameras. For packages with expensive items inside, consider requiring a signature for delivery or having packages sent to a local post office. (Then there’s Amazon Key, which allows packages to be dropped off inside your home, though that comes with its own risks.)
After filing a police report, Rogers put a box on his porch under the camera. In the middle of the night, the camera captured someone walking up to the porch and taking the bait package.
The next day, Olympia police responded to a separate report of mail theft near Rogers’ home. They caught a suspect with a stack of mail that wasn’t addressed to her, and one of the officers recognized the woman from Rogers’ video.
The suspect, Carina Paniagua, 37, was arrested Nov. 19 on suspicion of mail theft and a Department of Corrections warrant.
Rogers still hasn’t gotten his packages. He said he wants neighbors to be aware of the risk of mail theft, but the experience hasn’t put him off shopping online.
“I just won’t have them dropped off at my house,” he said of expensive packages.