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Thief snatching packages off Durham porches

Posted January 8

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— A Durham woman wants help catching the man who stole a Christmas gift for her daughter off her front porch. The thief was caught on security video, but police told her there isn't much they can do.

Pamela McAllister said her family was on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas, so they weren't home to pick up the gift, a surprise from her daughter's grandmother, when it was delivered on Dec. 26.

"I didn't know a package was being delivered," McAllister said Friday.

When she realized her daughter's gift was missing, she pulled up video from a home security camera on her front porch and saw the theft play out.

A man who appears to be on his phone is seen on the video casually walking up to the Durham townhouse on Stratford Lakes Drive and taking a package off the porch.

"He strolled up the steps like he lived here and grabbed it," McAllister said. "This was my home, and he came on my property and took something that did not belong to him. That's really disturbing."

Police said Mcallister isn't the only victim, noting officers have responded to reports of at least eight package thefts in her neighborhood since November, including a family across the street from Mcallister.

"He said he had two packages on two separate occasions that were taken around this same time," she said of her neighbor.

Mcallister was the only resident to catch her theft on camera, and she said she hopes her video can help find the person responsible.

"This is small, but it's huge to me. It was for my daughter. It could have been something worth a whole lot more money," she said. "If he's doing this and doing it to multiple families, he needs to be caught."

Durham police gave the following advice on how to avoid thefts like these:

  • Ask neighbors to pick up packages that are left if they see them.
  • Leave instructions on the front door asking delivery people to put packages on the back porch.
  • Request that all packages require a signature for delivery.

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  • Fanny Chmelar Jan 9, 2016
    user avatar

    For high-dollar items or something I'm excited to get, I use my office's address. The mailroom just gives me a call when it comes in and I go pick it up.

    I also have a milk box on my front porch that most packages can fit in. The delivery folks just drop the packages in there and they aren't visible from the street.

    If you have the room, put a garden storage container, or anything with a lid like a recycling bin, on your porch for them to drop items in to. It's not perfect, but it helps keep honest people honest, and thieves will move on to find the obvious targets.

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 9, 2016
    user avatar

    My USPS driver won't even get out of her truck! She stuffs everything in the box, and when they're too big, she ties and big rubber band around it, and leaves the box open with the package just hanging out there!! We have to watch her like a hawk, and get the packages before someone else does. She put one box in a Walmart plastic bag, and hung it from the flag (it was raining).!! I wish mine made it to my porch @

  • Bill Gibson Jan 9, 2016
    user avatar

    He was shown on his cell phone while he is taking the package. Couldn't they just determine the calls in the area iat the time the package was taken? If the video has a date/time stamp.

  • Betsy Smith Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    The best thing is to have USPS hold your mail and work out a system with your neighbors. However, I'm leery of telling neighbors. I suspect some of the thefts in my neighborhood were by neighbors or their kids so I only have one neighbor I tell and that's only if we'll be gone more than a day or two.

  • Larry Fellers Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Not only will the thief get the package the UPS man leaves but also everything else in the house..

  • Jacob Smith Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    What kind of BS is this that one must watch a nearly 3 minute video to see news?

  • Larry Fellers Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Really? America really is stupid...

  • Chip Dipson Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    I just leave a note that says "the key is under the mat" and the ups guy just leaves the box inside

  • Brenda Love Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Do NOT put a note on your front door asking delivery people to put packages on the back porch. This screams to a thief "I AM NOT HOME!" The best thing to do is get a buddy system with a neighbor, and check each other's porches for packages.