Americans are doing more and more of their Christmas shopping online. Shopping online used to be for ordering specialty items, or things that were tougher to get in a local store. Now, even daily necessities are coming from website-based marketplaces like Amazon. However, with the increased delivery of packages to our front doors, others are looking at a package outside their neighbor's doorstep as an easy opportunity to profit.
There has a been a rise in package theft in the East Bay. This may peak around the holiday season when people have orders or gifts sent to their house, and they may be out of town on vacation. A left package may be tempting for someone to think it is a relatively harmless crime, but before swiping a package from a doorstep, understand that this type of theft can result in a felony offense.
Under federal law, taking, stealing or attempting to take a letter or package from the mail may be charged with a felony, fined, and sentenced to up to five (5) years in prison. While many people think that it is pretty easy to get away with grabbing a package in front of a house, a number of surveillance cameras and extra observant neighbors are leading to more package theft arrests.
Alameda police recently arrested two men on the same day in separate package theft incidents. The first man was stopped by witnesses who saw the theft, when the police arrived, they detained the 45-year-old man, and arrested him for theft, in addition to probation violation. A few hours later, another man was reported to police, and found to be in possession of a stolen package. He was also busted for possession of methamphetamines.
Prior to these arrests, police in Brentwood put the word out to residents to keep their eyes open for possible package theft. This comes after Brentwood police were investigating a couple of cases where suspicious vehicles were seen following delivery trucks. Law enforcement also recommended coordinating with neighbors, so that packages wouldn't be left unattended.
With a similar modus operandi, three people were recently arrested in El Cerrito after police caught them allegedly stealing Amazon packages from people's homes. An officer apparently noticed a suspicious vehicle slowing down and stopping at several spots. Later, empty Amazon packages were tossed out of the vehicle, onto the street. After the police officer stopped the vehicle, they found two men and a woman in possession of the stolen items, and they were taken into custody.
A watchful neighbor in San Leandro led police not only to stolen packages, but the suspects were also in possession of stolen firearms. After the neighbor saw two women taking a package from a neighbor's doorstep, they confronted the women, who left the scene. The neighbor reported the license plate to police, who found the suspects at the location, along with stolen property, and two stolen firearms.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with petty theft and other criminal violations in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of criminal defense experience, she understands the penalties involved, and knows how to fight to keep your arrest from ending in a conviction. Contact your local East Bay criminal defense attorney who will make sure you get the justice you deserve.