What to do if your packages are stolen from your front porch

Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 16, 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A woman walks up to an Englewood home and quickly picks up two packages on the front porch.

"They had just been delivered, so I'm guessing she just waited to see if we were home and then picked it up," said Bethany Conrad, whose husband was home, but on a conference call when their Nest camera caught the porch pirate in action. "It was a pretty big bummer. They really got some good gifts."

Last year, one survey stated that 23 million people across the country reported having a package stolen, and local police say the numbers are on the rise.

So what can you do after your package is pilfered?

First, call police.

"We're seeing an increase this year, not only in Englewood but throughout the Denver area," said Sgt. Chad Read with the Englewood Police Department. "If we can identify a trend and suspects down the line, that information could link those suspects to additional burglaries."

Sometimes, he said, surveillance video can help nab the crooks, but it's also useful for the victim's next step: calling the retailer or original shipper.

"They're looking for proof, more and more, evidence that it's not fraudulent," said Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing professor with Metropolitan State University of Denver. "If it's a lower price-point product, then the odds are fairly good that the retailer will be able to get you a new product or give you a refund."

Duber-Smith said some companies are easier to work with than others.
"Amazon has deep pockets and they want to keep customers coming back to their e-commerce site," said Duber-Smith. "Other retailers don't make their policies very public. You usually find them out when you have something stolen." 
Amazon is known for an almost no-questions-asked policy for replacing or refunding orders that don't arrive in time.
Shipping agents such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx are generally not responsible for stolen packages (unless they are insured), but they can help work with the original shipper.
"Luckily, Amazon is super flexible and as long as you're not a repeat offender, they'll send you the packages again, so that was lucky for us," said Conrad, who is still waiting for her replacement Christmas presents. "Hopefully, they'll get here in time."


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