Preventing holiday package thefts

FedEx says they are expecting to deliver a record breaking 317 million packages this holiday season. That's because, as retail analysts note, online shopping is on the rise. That means more opportunities for thieves to steal packages.

That's what happened to a FOX 7 viewer who was waiting for more than just a gift. Jeff Makela's package was swiped from his front porch in broad daylight.

Something he never thought he would see, especially during the holidays. "I've been watching TV all week and seeing everywhere people's packages have been getting stolen," he says, never thinking it would happen to him. 

But on Monday the thieves were caught on video approaching the front porch and taking two packages. One of them, that Makela, a diabetic, desperately needs. "The package contained the reservoir that holds the insulin and the device that sticks inside me," he explains, adding, "so that was a 3 month supply worth over $700."

Mackela who lives at a busy intersection installed the camera three weeks ago, "I was kind of looking out for the kids by trying to get these stop sign runners caught," he says. 

Now he believes one of the neighborhood kids he was trying to keep safe could be to blame. "You don't expect those same kids to steal stuff off your porch," he says disappointed, "especially when they are friends with everyone around here, all of these kids know who it is, I am hoping someone comes forward and tells police or their parents."

The thirty-nine year old filed a report with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. But, he says, he isn't looking to put anyone behind bars, "I don't care who did it, I just want my parts back. I don't want to end up going to the hospital because I don't have my insulin."

And he hopes this story will shine a bright light on what he sees as a much bigger problem in his East Austin neighborhood. "Down there in that park, it's just a big grassy open field. They need to put a swing set up there, a tree house, something for the kids to play on," he says of wanting the kids to have a place to go, adding, "There's just nothing down here for these kids to do, to have fun."

Makela says he is working with the company to replace his medicine as soon as possible. Anyone with information about the theft is being asked to call the Travis County Sheriff's Office: 512-974-0845

Here are some tips from police if you have a package that's been stolen:

  • After you've filed a report, contact the person or company that sent it and file a claim
  • If you were the purchaser, contact your credit card company

Tips for packages being delivered:

  • Make sure you are home at the time or that your neighbor is home
  • Make sure to require a signature instead of just having it dropped off
  • Sign up for an alert with the delivery company to let you know your package has been delivered
  • If you do come home and find that you're packages have been stolen, call 311.
  • If you see someone swiping your packages or your neighbors, police suggest you get a good description and call 911 immediately.
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