Keeping Christmas deliveries safe from thieves

Keeping Christmas deliveries safe from thieves

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's that time of year when presents start rolling in and many packages arrive on our door steps.

Unfortunately, that also comes with its fair share of people trying to take advantage of the increase of packages and steal them.

The National Retail Federation says 36 percent of consumers plan to shop this Cyber Monday. That means a lot of packages will be on their way soon.

On Tuesday, Darren Nelsen from the Spokane Valley was minding his business at home.

"I was sitting in my house watching tv and I noticed somebody walking outside my window down Mission carrying a package," he said.

Nelsen says he didn't think much of it, until the woman came into his yard.

"I noticed she started walking down my driveway, which really caught my eye, and I was wondering what she was up to," he said.

Nelsen says the woman started going through the box, and hid behind his neighbor's pine tree.

She pulled out childrens' clothing and stuffed them into her purse.

"The first thing I thought of was somebody worked hard, bought the clothing to send to a granddaughter or a niece, and now that person is not going to get their package," he said.

So Darren confronted her.

"I said, 'I know exactly what you're doing,'" he recalled. "'You need to get out of here and you out to be ashamed of yourself.'"

The woman left. Darren says he called 911, and followed the woman in his car down Mission Avenue.

"I said, 'I'm not going to let her go. I'm going to sit and watch her until somebody shows up.'"

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived, questioned the alleged thief, 32-year-old Hillary J. Porter. She was arrested for third degree theft.

Darren says he was happy the deputies arrived quickly, and that he was able to help out in his neighborhood.

"I just wanted to do what I could to stop her," he said.

KXLY also spoke to the woman whose package was stolen. She explained the package was a gift from a relative. The Sheriff's Office returned the stolen clothes, but some items including a Christmas ornament, were not recovered.

Here are some tips from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office to avoid becoming a victim of package theft:

1) Consider having them delivered to a neighbor you trust or a family member who will be home.

2) Insure packages to help protect your purchases.

3) Require a signature for delivery.

4) Utilize in-store pickup if available.

5) Don't leave items in your vehicle unattended.