Couple Takes Advantage Of UPS Laziness, Steals Over 100 Packages From Doorsteps

We’ve certainly written enough pieces over the years about how some UPS, FedEx and USPS carriers would rather fling your package somewhere in the vicinity of your house rather than knock and wait to see if you’re home. Now the police in Somerville, MA, say a couple took advantage of drivers’ willingness to leave packages out in the open by swooping in to steal the deliveries right off folks’ doorsteps.

After police in Somerville noticed an increase in the number of packages reported stolen, they figured it couldn’t be a coincidence.

“We had our plainclothes detectives and narcotics officers following UPS trucks and postal trucks around,” the Somerville police chief tells the Boston Herald.

Then they got a tip from their fellow officers in nearby Medford about a car that had been spotted “filled to the brim” with packages that were all stamped with different delivery addresses.

When police checked out the apartment of that car’s drivers, they found more than 100 packages that had been plucked from their final destinations.

The police chief tells the Herald that his officers had to take over a police academy classroom to store all the purloined packages because there wasn’t enough space in the evidence room.

Somerville police are currently photographing all the packages in the hopes of getting them out to recipients before Santa comes calling this weekend.

Police uncover load of gifts stolen before delivery [Boston Herald]

Thanks to RandomHookup for the tip!

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  1. Cat says:

    “before Santa comes calling this weekend.”

    Loias says Santa isn’t real. Is that true?

  2. philpm says:

    There’s a special corner of hell for people like this.

    • Lethe says:

      Really? For thieves taking advantage of an opportunity? I think there are a lot worse people out there.

      • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

        There wasn’t enough room in the special corner of hell, so they needed to take over a classroom.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        Good idea, lets just absolve criminals of all responsibility because they saw an “opportunity” to commit a crime. After all, who *wouldn’t* take such an opportunity, right? I hope some thief sees an opportunity to steal a bunch of your stuff. I bet you’ll be singing a different tune then.

      • Slaughterhouse5 says:

        So you won’t object then if I take advantage of the opportunity to take everything you own? Send me all your particulars and I’ll get started, after all, there’s nothing really wrong with it.

      • philpm says:

        No, for being so fucking slimy that they have to follow the UPS and FedEx trucks around town so they can steal things that other people probably worked hard to be able to afford.

    • Happy13178 says:

      Fedex?

    • dolemite says:

      I concur. I’ve always rushed home after work for free some low life has stolen my package off the front porch. It has yet to happen, but…

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        It happened to my parents one year…everything I sent to them from Amazon.com was stolen off their front porch. Luckily Amazon replaced everything, but not everything arrived in time for Christmas. It really burned me because I was overseas at the time and had arranged for everything to be delivered, gift-wrapped no less, before Thanksgiving. Grrrr. Thieving buttholes!

    • ilovemom says:

      There’s a name for it: Somerville.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        I liked living in Somerville, we were halfway between Union and Davis squares. Great restaurants, walking distance to the T, cheap rent. We bought a house elsewhere, as our apartment wasn’t big enough for kids.

    • livingthedreamrtw says:

      Amen to that. We had three packages delivered by USPS to our apartment building go missing in the last week. We thought it was USPS’ fault but were told some pretty convincing information that it wasnt. The problem is that we live in a secured building. The mail drop is inside this secured building. There are only about 10 apartment units in this building, and the complex is expensive enough that someone shouldn’t have to resort to stealing someone else’s package. Luckily the companies reshipped the items for free, otherwise I would have flipped out.

    • Sian says:

      The one next to child molesters and people who talk in the theater?

    • smo0 says:

      Is it wrong that I read this headline and said to myself, “FINALLY!” because every time I see a package on my doorstep… I think, “well why hasn’t anyone just come by and jacked it?”
      I don’t live in a bad area but I always think about it.

      I want it to happen more so that maybe fedex and ups will be knee deep in package theft claims that they’ll go back to the pre-90s of actually KNOCKING ON YOUR FUCKING DOOR OR LEAVING A NOTICE WHEN YOU’RE NOT HOME.

      I worked for UPS… it’s bullshit – it’s lazy and they only do this to cut corners while jacking up your rates… for anyone who thinks it’s a cost issue – you are sorely mistaken.

  3. Dave B. says:

    Do carriers not get paid enough to do their jobs properly?

    • Marlin says:

      What did they do wrong?

      If no sig is required then they leave it at your door. Easy for anyone to steal.

      • kobresia says:

        Yeah, I don’t see what they did wrong. It’s a horrible inconvenience for people to have to sign for everything, or be interrupted from what they’re doing to check the door. There’s also the additional time couriers would have to spend on each delivery, which would raise costs for everyone or cause delivery schedules to lengthen.

        The problem here are people who are trespassing and stealing things that belong to others. A package should be safe on your own porch.

        • Cat says:

          A package should be safe on your own porch.

          I wish it were true. It used to be, back in my day… hold on, wait a minute…

          Hey, YOU KIDS GET OFF MY PORCH!

          • kobresia says:

            I think porch safety used to be enforced by shotguns loaded with rocksalt.

            When I get around to building a proper porch on my house, I plan to improve security by keeping an old rocking chair, a banjo, and an earthenware jug emblazoned “xxx” on it.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      If you want to have every package delivered, registered mail, go ahead. I have a job and can’t spend all day at home waiting for a package. My local post office sucks ass.

      • shufflemoomin says:

        Then they should do what private couriers do in Denmark. They partner with chain stores in the country so that your package is delivered to a store, such as a local supermarket. You stop by on your way home and collect and sign for it. No need to involve the post office and it’s safer and more convenient for you.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          Nahhh, I’d much rather have it delivered to my home. I went to the local market the first time in several months this morning; my fingers are still quivering from carrying the groceries home.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Do you suppose those shops in Denmark deliver to Kalaallit Nunaat and the thousands of sheep and salt cod islands in the North Sea? The problem is that in the U.S., manufacturer and recipient are frequently thousands of miles apart. There is still a need for a delivery service to get things from where they are made to where they are purchased. And this delivery may as well include the last mile to the customer doorstep. I suspect there are cultural, even architectural reasons why Denmark has adopted the solution it has. Maybe there are no doorsteps. Maybe it is too wet outside to leave packages out. I’m just guessing.

    • CoachTabe says:

      More like they aren’t allocated the time to do it properly.

  4. The Lone Gunman says:

    Oddly, there’s an Amazon Kindle ad that shows up online regularly right now that shows a woman coming home to a package on her street-level urban stoop by the door. She pounces on it, opens it on the street while sitting down on the steps, and takes out the Kindle to play with it.

    At no time is there any indication that it is her package she’s opening, or even if it is her building since she does not enter it like a normal person would with her package–and given the amount of foot traffic seen in the establishing shot, why the package is still laying unmolested on that stoop to begin with.

    • ostaguph says:

      I love that commercial. In my head the owners come home to find some stranger sitting on their steps opening their mail. “Hey!!!! What the f^ck are you doing with my stuff?”

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        That’s that joyous South Philly Christmas tradition…you go to other houses and open the presents you find there, and everyone else does the same. (That’s why there are no presents at home when you return, other people took them all.)

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yes! Every time I see that ad I think, “there’s no way that package would still be sitting there without getting stolen”

    • Sarahlara says:

      I don’t know why the Kindle has special “hey look, it’s a Kindle!” packaging. I feel lucky nobody took mine.

  5. kimshot says:

    Good thing my drivers always place my packages on my front step, then gently place my doormat over the package. This has been demonstrated as a fool-proof way to deter burglars, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve never had a package stolen!

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      What kind of sick bastard would molest a package?

    • Costner says:

      The same logic applies when you are at the beach. Everyone knows if you hide your wallet in your shoe that nobody will find it. Brilliant!

    • Marlin says:

      For me I have a anti-stealing rock in my yard. Never had a break-in, package stolen, etc…
      Trusty ole anti-stealing rock, never fails.

      ;)

    • Rachacha says:

      Ironically, I had a doormat delivered (it was in a box measuring 2 ft x 2 ft x 3.5 ft…yeah, don’t get me started), and the UPS man put it on my front porch and placed my old doormat over it. I did not see it for several hours*, so the trick works!

      * I’ll just ignore the fact that I went in the back door to my house that day, and the light on the porch had burned out, so I did not see it when I pulled into the driveway.

  6. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    We’ve certainly written enough pieces over the years about how some UPS, FedEx and USPS carriers would rather fling your package somewhere in the vicinity of your house rather than knock and wait to see if you’re home.

    I don’t see how the problem here is the delivery company. Even if they do knock, if you’re not home they’re going to leave the package. The delivery people I’ve had always knock or ring the bell, and they’re back in their truck by the time I get to the door.

    I know there have been isolated incidents, videos and anecdotes about the occasional screwup by the carrier’s employee, but leaving the package on the doorstep isn’t “laziness”, it’s standard procedure.

    • Marlin says:

      This!!!

      No where in the article do they even try to paint this as a delivery company fault. Not sure how it got to where we should blame the fedex/ups/usps driver.

      • Kaleey says:

        Except in the title, where they clearly stqate “Takes advantage of UPS LAZINESS”

        • Marlin says:

          No the article says “Police uncover load of gifts stolen before delivery”

          Consumerist post says “Couple Takes Advantage Of UPS Laziness, Steals Over 100 Packages From Doorsteps”

          • Slaughterhouse5 says:

            It wouldn’t be Consumerist if they couldn’t find a way to blame a company for doing nothing wrong.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Nobody said UPS is at fault in this article. I believe the gist of this article is, “We’ve done enough ragging on UPS delivery people, so let’s go after another culprit for a change.”

      • Marlin says:

        yea they did.

        “Now the police in Somerville, MA, say a couple took !!!advantage of drivers’ willingness!!! to leave packages out in the open by swooping in to steal the deliveries right off folks’ doorsteps.”

        If not for the evil and lazy drivers leaving “packages out in the open” they would not have been stolen.

        /roll eyes

    • Gorbachev says:

      Then the standard process is lazy.

      As a customer ordering stuff from retailers, I do NOT consider the item to be delivered until it is actually in my hands. If someone else gets their hands on it before me, because the delivery company opts to optimize their costs over customer service, then the delivery failed, and I will not be paying for the merchandise. UPS/FedEx and the vendor can fight over who eats the cost. It won’t be me.

      • Marlin says:

        Then pay extra for Signature required or call the office and tell them to hold the package until you pick it up.

        You know ahead of time how things work. if you don;t like it YOU need to step up and change it. The drivers are doing their jobs and the packages are being shipped the same way they always have.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          This is what I do–I have it held at the local UPS office if it is really valuable.

          • kobresia says:

            That solution is far too reasonable and effective. There is nothing to be an angry consumer about if you take that approach, and you’re not putting some poor driver into a position to fall short of your lofty expectations of white-glove service.

            I get pretty pissed if people require signatures for non-valuable things. The customer counters/delivery hubs near where I work make the most sense as a delivery location for the things that really do need signatures– the parcel is safe and I don’t have to play “find out who has the package” at work, or wait around for a courier at home. Even better, there are people right there who can verify damage or any other irregularities with the contents of a package if I open it on the spot. There’s much less room for excuses or passing the buck.

          • inadequatewife says:

            I wish that was a feasible option. Our local UPS facility is 45 miles away, and closes at 5:45 pm. Our local FedEx facility is 65 miles away, also closes too early to stop by after work.

      • excaza says:

        I’m glad you have enough free time to sit at home for every package that gets delivered to your house.

      • Slaughterhouse5 says:

        Yes it will. And the rest of us as well.

        The problem is that most of us have these unusual things called “jobs”, which require us to spend most days away from our houses. The UPS drivers also have some of these “jobs”, and they’re usually the same hours as the rest of us. They keep trying to deliver things to us but we’re never there! What a riot.

        • Sad Sam says:

          Which is why I have all my packages delivered to my office. If I’m not there, the mail room will deliver said package to my office.

          If by chance a package is delivered to my home, i.e. by a family member who does not know better, my next door neighbor is a retired deputy and he will call me to tell me a package has been delivered, really he is just waiting to shoot someone who gets too close to my house, and then he will scoop it up and keep it for me.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        You can pay more for Direct Signature Required, if it’s FedEx at least. If the shipper has a signature release, then unless it’s got a value over a certain amount (FedEx I think is $500) it will get left.

        Depending on the shipper, you may be able to do a phone order and get this. You can also maybe have the package held at the terminal and pick it up, if it’s not too inconvenient. I don’t know what else to recommend except getting packages delivered to your work.

  7. comedian says:
  8. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Over 600 packages were recovered. The 450 packages were returned to UPS and Fedex. UPS and Fedex redelivered all 150 packages to their rightful owners.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      This makes more sense, as 100 packages does not sound like it would justify needing a whole extra room.

  9. cdoc says:

    Has anyone else ever had to deal with this? You call FedEx and they tell you that their records indicate that the package was “delivered” so they claim no responsibility. They tell you to file a claim w/ your home owners insurance. Even in the case where someone was home waiting for the package and it never showed up but they claim that it was delivered.

    I’d love to request a signature on all packages delivered to my house but 99 out of 100 times you don’t get to chose that when you order items on line.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      If you’re really paranoid you can call FedEx or UPS after you get a tracking number and have them hold the package for pick up. If you ask nicely maybe they can change it so that a signature is required.

    • ecwis says:

      They probably tell you that if you’re the recipient. If you’re the sender, they will reimburse you up to $100 (unless you purchase extra insurance) plus the cost of shipping.

    • cdoc says:

      No, we contacted the vendor and they were told it was delivered and they couldn’t file a claim.

      Hold at station is a little difficult as the station is about 45 minutes away. Signature required would be perfect. Has anyone tried contacting large vendors (Amazon or Newegg large) and requested this?

      • inadequatewife says:

        I’ve had signature required on many packages, gone online and checked the tracking. The package was signed for by “front door” or “behind the chair”. Apparently those items become animated and play while I’m at work.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Just call the place you ordered from. If they don’t require a signature they are the ones liable if it doesn’t get delivered correctly. You can always do a charge back if they give you hassle.

  10. Costner says:

    I can see the day when it becomes too risky for packages to be left at the door. We will all need some type of a locking box that a package can be left in and then it is locked when the door is closed, or the boxes will need to have electronic locks that can be opened by delivery drivers (think the TSA lock principle, but with greater security).

    I live in a fairly crime-free area on a cul-de-sac, so they can deliver a Plasma TV to my doorstep with no issues. I get large expensive and clearly identifiable items delivered all the time and have never had an issue with theft… but frankly I’m amazed it doesn’t happen more often. I’m sure there are cities and neighborhoods where UPS and FedEx just can’t drop things and leave – and perhaps eventually we will all have to deal with the same thing.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yes, you are correct that in many parts of cities, packages do not get left at the door. There are delivery notices du jour.

    • comedian says:

      In some (tiny subset of U.S.) cities Amazon offers exactly this service though a program called Amazon Locker Delivery.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200689010

      “Once your package is delivered to the Amazon Locker, you’ll receive an e-mail informing you that your package is available for pick-up. The e-mail will contain your unique pick-up code. At the location/address you will find a set of lockers, one of which will contain your package. Enter your pick-up code into the touch screen display and the locker with your package will open.”

  11. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I’m just glad there are still some cops out there who would even investigate. All I have heard recently has been the beating down of journalists, photographers, students, old ladies, ministers and their wives, etc.

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      The reason you’re only hearing about those stories are because they’re the only ones noteworthy… It doesn’t mean that’s all that’s happening.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        That’s not true in my experience. The vast majority of my experience with cops has been negative, with just plain harassment to sending a kill squad to our safe house. If you consider how much they cover up for each other, the constant stream of prosecutions and civil court actions is surprising.
        http://www.injusticeeverywhere.com/

  12. RandomHookup says:

    Just so people understand how easy it is in Somerville for someone to steal tons of packages from the porch:

    * Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England with most houses 2-3 family setups on lots that are 80′ x 80′.
    * At least 1/2 of the buildings do not have enclosed porches and many of the open porches are right on the sidewalk
    * Lots of renters and lots of folks not home during the day
    * Like most Northern cities, people don’t know their neighbors so strangers don’t get noticed quickly (and many of the neighborhoods have a ton of foot traffic).

    • AstroPig7 says:

      This is why I love my city. The police have so little to do they regularly patrol neighbourhoods looking for miscreants. Hell, they even leave notes for homeowners when they notice an open garage door or something else that just invites trouble.

  13. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Don’t blame the drivers. UPS and FedEx put so much pressure on the drivers to deliver X amount of packages per day and even more during the holidays. I hear it’s down to like 30 seconds per stop or something awful like that.

    Consumerist should do a piece on the draconian rules imposed on drivers by delivery companies.

  14. justagigilo85 says:

    FYI- Not all cities, towns, & boroughs are signature required area. Once enough thefts happen, then signatures will then be required in said area.

    Don’t call it laziness. I have a family member who works UPS and does at least 12 hours* days this time of year.

    *no signature required area

    • Puppyclaws says:

      Somerville is essentially an extension of the city of Boston. It’s a densely packed urban area. Signatures should be required, and it is laziness to not require them.

      Disclaimer: I am a Boston-area resident who has had packages go missing this year, so I am totally biased.

  15. kataisa says:

    Good work to the Somerville police!

  16. Dr. Eirik says:

    In October, my mother sent my kids a couple of gifts, paid for insurance though UPS and since she was sending it to my home and my wife and I both work, told them not to require a signature. The package was either never delivered or was stolen off the porch. Because she didn’t require a signature, she has been told that it invalidated the insurance. She’s currently fighting that.

    I have finally convinced her to send things to my office. There is always someone here to sign for it and we virtually know the drivers for USPS, UPS and FedEx. Nothing ever goes missing and nothing is ever tossed though the waiting room to be delivered.

  17. ganzhimself says:

    The c**kbag UPS and FedEx drivers have decided to leave packages on my front steps… I have a side door that doesn’t face the road and they’ve always left them there until two weeks ago. I am not very happy with this, as I live on the busiest street in the town and there’s all kinds of little brats walking up and down the sidewalk after school. I even have a little sign saying to leave packages at the side door. IDIOTS!!!! Kind of glad I didn’t tip them this year.

    • Slaughterhouse5 says:

      So you’re the cockbag who left the sign! Thanks, I was wondering where I could steal packages from somone’s house without being seen from the street. Let me know next time you’re expecting a delivery.

    • elangomatt says:

      My UPS driver always delivers packages to my back door, which is maybe 20 feet from the alley (through an unlocked fence gate). I really wish that they would leave packages at my front door since the package wouldn’t be visible unless you get to within 10 feet of the door. I haven’t yet had any problems with UPS packages getting stolen yet though even though they are a lot more visible at the back door. If something happens, I might have to try to get the driver to start going to the front porch again.

  18. Torchwood says:

    It’s either this or the competitive package lobbing Olympics that has me making sure that everything I order goes to my workplace, and not my home.

  19. Esmeralda the Calipygian says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. A few years back, I was working as a housekeeper. As I was leaving a house (whose occupants were away at work,) I saw the UPS guy leave a box on the porch. As I had the keys to the house, I went to get the box, so I could stow it safely inside for my customers. The driver, standing nearby, told me I was smart to do so, as a woman had been following him all morning in her car, swiping all the boxes he left. Sure enough, the brazen thief was parked at the end of the drive, watching us the whole time. The driver told me he got paid to drop off boxes, and he didn’t see it as his responsibility to report this woman to the police.

  20. maxhobbs says:

    narcotics officers?????

  21. BrownEyes says:

    Unless you pay for signature confirmation, the USPS is only required to put a large package at your door. Otherwise, it goes in the mailbox.

  22. quail says:

    Had relative who lived in Arkansas ages ago. They could never get anything delivered to them that was bigger than an envelope or it would get swiped. It was the same thing with their neighbors. That stuff just blows big wads of horrible.

    Surprised that those UPS stores aren’t bigger business since they can accept all packages & they don’t count as a post office box, meaning vendors have to mail to them.

  23. kujospam says:

    I wonder if having a secret camera where people leave their packages at, that would be able to pick up whoever is in front of the door with a 2/3 day recording period. Doubt the trouble makers wore masks when they stole the packages. Also it could help against other crimes. Homebreakins where the robbers check when people are home by knocking on the door pretending to be someone else.

  24. jaybeebrad says:

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit. Recently my roommate ordered a t-shirt online and came home to find a slip from FedEx saying they had left the package with a neighbor four doors down. Someone who we had never met in our entire lives. Maybe if we lived in a nice suburb neighborhood where everyone gets to know one another that would make sense, but we live in South Philadelphia.

  25. lawdom says:

    Last year the UPS guy was so nice he hauled a new computer through the snow and into our house on Christmas Eve! This year none of the delivery companies so much as knocked or availed themselves of our conveniently placed doorbell. One driver even left a $150 dollhouse in the middle of our driveway. It sat there overnight and I almost ran over it while backing my car out the next morning.

  26. FrugalFreak says:

    I placed a plastic box next to doorstep with note “places packages in box. Fedex and UPS ignore it and place on doorstep. They just DON’T care.

  27. dlr143 says:

    What a nerve! Such greed.

  28. ancientone567 says:

    Ya and when your package gets taken they say to bad it was delivered. LOL