MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Santa's magic may not be enough to get all of your gifts under your Christmas tree this week.
A boom in online shopping and a major East Coast snowstorm have overwhelmed the United States shipping system, causing some delays. And now, delivered boxes are going missing.
The Twin Cities are among the top spots for stolen package inquiries online.
Tammy Holthaus of Brooklyn Park ordered everything online this year due to the pandemic. But the Nike slippers she ordered for her husband were stolen from their mailbox.
"Amazon recorded it had been delivered, and we noticed at that same time up and down our block there were about eight mailboxes where they had mail missing," Holthaus said.
Sgt. Mike Ernster with the St. Paul Police Department says package theft is a difficult crime to deal with.
"It's a tough crime for investigators to follow up on and actually hold people accountable," Ernster said.
Package thefts are up in the Twin Cities. There were 157 reported since October in St. Paul, which is up from 128 during that same window last year. Police say the tactics have evolved.
"We had two Amazon trucks in the past month that were taken," Ernster said.
Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder says his department has also dealt with delivery truck-related issues.
"There are times when we get calls from delivery drivers that say, 'Hey, I've got a car that's following me,'" Elder said.
Package thefts are also rising in Minneapolis. There have been 61 in December, with 26 of them occurring in the last week. About 70% of the thefts are in the Third and Fifth Precincts.
"It's really in the residential area surrounding Uptown … that's been hard hit," Elder said.
If you are still waiting on packages, tracking tools will be your best friend for now. Customers are also urged to check the delivery company's websites. Carriers like UPS and FedEx post service alert updates there if things like weather could impact your mail.
If your package is stolen or doesn't make it to you, check with the company that delivered it about insurance or replacement options. Police say it is worth it to file a report so that they know where the thefts are happening.
Police suggest coordinating with neighbors, utilizing a delivery locker or telling drivers to hide packages somewhere discrete to avoid the potential headache.
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