Police departments crack down on package thieves ahead of Christmas

Cracking down on holiday package thieves

Chicago — It's crunch time to get Christmas gifts delivered on time. The Postal Service says packages sent "priority mail express" need to be sent by Saturday. But thieves are tracking those gifts too.

Near Orlando, officers even uncovered an inside job. A seasonal UPS ‪delivery man allegedly alerted his friends with a text message after delivering packages. Just minutes later, they stole them.

With the growth of online shopping, nearly 26 million people have had packages stolen during the holidays, 2.4 million more in 2017 than in 2015. Seventy-four percent of thefts occur when no one's home.

But homeowners are fighting back with doorbell security cameras. People who Google "Amazon package stolen" the most are from San Francisco, Seattle and Minneapolis. In Jersey City, police are placing GPS devices inside dummy packages. They made three arrests on Monday alone.

Police in Chicago are conducting their own operations. About a dozen packages go missing every month in Police Commander Marc Buslik's district.

"You could say it's particularly Grinch-like. These are likely to be holiday gifts," he said.

Buslik said the simplest tip can save Christmas: Don't make it easy for thieves.