Thieves prowling for unattended holiday packages

Thieves prowling for unattended holiday packages
SEATTLE -- It's the season of giving, but you might want to be careful about who you're giving to.

With Christmas just a few short weeks away, millions of Americans are now shipping valuable packages across country.

The holiday season brings out the best in some people, but police say the increased shipping also attracts thieves who prowl for packages left on front porches and in mailboxes.

Deputies in East King County just busted some thieves for stealing a computer shipped to a house.

"We had packages stolen from somebody's porch," said Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office. "We suspect the suspects were following the delivery truck."

But you don't have to follow anyone to find packages.

Criminals can simply walk or drive around a city neighborhood and they'll likely spot a few unattended packages.

Seattle's Kristen Lundstrom said she's been guilty of leaving packages on her porch.

"Well, I was hoping my tenant was going to pick it up, but it's been a couple of days, so I'm going to bring it in," she said. "So yes, I am worried and especially if it's something expensive. We just had some computer stuff delivered about three weeks ago, but they make you sign for it."

Police say if someone is going to send you a package, ask them to require a signature or ship it to your work address.

The UPS store also suggests you have your items shipped to their stores for you to pick up. If that seems too inconvenient, check with your retired or stay-at-home neighbors to see if they'll accept a package for you.

The holidays should be a time for family and fun, but police say you need to stay vigilant when it comes to criminals.

"Unfortunately, this is not only a time of giving, but thieving, too," West said.