Video shows package theft in broad daylight in Woodlawn

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On one block in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood, stolen packages have been reported at three different homes over the last couple of weeks - all in broad daylight within minutes of delivery.

"He's probably shopping, he's around, he's doing his Christmas shopping at other people's expense," said Emerald-Jane Hunter.

An empty box is all that was left behind of the Christmas gift Hunter ordered for her husband. The package, along with another one delivered to her home Tuesday, were stolen within 10 minutes of a postal worker casually dropping them off just over her fence.

"It takes you a little bit aback. In broad daylight that someone was so bold and daring to do this," Hunter said.

The entire incident was caught on Hunter's surveillance video, which shows what appears to be a teenager on a bike approaching her fence carrying a large plastic bag. A minute later, the suspect is on her lawn allegedly grabbing the packages, then leaves, presumably by jumping over the neighbor's fence.

Hunter blames the letter carrier, at least in part, for leaving the packages where anyone could see them.

"At least one of those packages could have easily been put in the mailbox. And just, when you see the footage, there was no care or concern," Hunter said.

After looking at the video on Wednesday, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson agreed they could have done better.

"We should make every effort to leave the package in a safe place, preferably at the customer's door step," said Mark Reynolds, U.S. Postal Service.

And while it's not always possible to be home when packages are delivered, and many gates are locked so that letter carriers can't access the front porch, USPS says there are still ways customers can avoid being a victim of theft. Customers can leave specific delivery instructions for their letter carrier - and it can all be done online.

"If there is a package coming, where do they want it delivered, if they want an alternate delivery. If they want it to go to a neighbor's house, if they want it to go to a workplace, if they want us to hold it until they can come get it themselves. They can do all of that through," Reynolds said.

USPS customers can report stolen packages by calling 877-876-2455.

When shopping online, customers can also contact the seller and ask them to insure the items before shipping.

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