CHICAGO (CBS) -- Police were warning residents to be careful when having holiday gifts delivered to their homes, after five people were arrested for stealing packages from victims' front porches in three separate incidents.
Police said the three incidents on Monday were not related, but all involved suspects stealing parcels that had been delivered to homes on the North Side, and left outside the homes.
Travis Slaughtaire, 21, was charged with one count of felony theft, and Dwayne Bullock, 20, was charged with misdemeanor theft, for allegedly stealing two packages from the porch of a home in the 1700 block of West Diversey Avenue around 10 a.m. Monday.
Elizabeth Quilez, 49, was charged with two counts of felony theft, after allegedly stealing packages from the front porches of two homes on the 6200 and 6300 blocks of West Patterson Avenue around 2:45 p.m.
In both instances, the stolen items were recovered and returned to the victims, police said.
A 50-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman were arrested around 3:30 p.m. after stealing a package from the front of a home on the 1600 block of North Wood Street. Charges were pending against the pair.
Police said, during the holidays, police often target delivery trucks, follow them, and then steal packages left outside homes. Sometimes the thieves are so brazen, they open the packages right then, and if they don't like what's inside, they just leave it there.
Police advised shoppers to make sure they get what they ordered by having packages delivered to a place where they or someone else will be to accept the package when it's delivered -- such as their workplace, or the home of a friend or relative who is at home during the day -- and make sure a signature is required for delivery, so the package won't simply be left on the porch or doorstep.
Lori Boym had three packages swiped from her front door this year and now shipping to her home is no longer an option.
"I have everything come to the office," she said.
Mark Reynolds of the U.S. Postal Service recommends going to myusps.com and registering for alerts to know when and where your package is delivered.
"We want to make sure that those packages have a safe place to be delivered to so our customers can receive them," Reynolds said.
Another suggestion from postal workers is to contact your neighborhood carrier when you have a delivery coming and make arrangements to leave it with a neighbor or somewhere around your home where it won't be found by someone else.
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