November 12, 2008 in City

Theft of delivered packages spurs alert

By The Spokesman-Review


Require a signature when having a package delivered.

Pick up the package from the parcel company rather than having it delivered.

United Parcel Service recently dropped off a $500 Bose radio on a Spokane County woman’s porch. She knew because the parcel-packing company called to tell her it was there. But when she got home, it was gone.

Sheriff’s detectives have received several reports during the last two months of delivered packages being stolen from homes. Spokane police also have fielded a few theft reports. So far, law enforcement officials in Kootenai County and Coeur d’Alene say they haven’t seen an uptick, but they expect it’s coming.

With the gift-giving season nearly upon us, authorities are warning people to take extra precautions with mailed packages.

“It appears someone is following around a UPS truck,” said Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Fray.

The thefts are happening at “no particular time of day, and there are no suspect descriptions,” so there are no leads right now, Fray said. The thefts also aren’t localized to one area, he said. “Part of the problem is UPS just drops the package at the door and leaves,” Fray said.

Ronna Branch, a corporate spokeswoman for UPS, said that while ground packages can be dropped off by a driver, “our drivers are well trained, and they will not leave them in view.” But hiding the items may not help if a thief is following the driver, authorities said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said one report noted UPS hid the parcel behind a garbage can, and it was stolen from there.

Said Branch: “If they (UPS driver) noticed someone following behind their truck, they wouldn’t leave a package.” Although Fray said he alerted the local UPS office to the thefts, Branch said she’s unaware of any investigations in the Spokane area.

Contact Jody Lawrence-Turner at (509) 459-5593 or

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