Tis the season – for your mail to get stolen. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says reports of mail theft has spiked across Spokane County in the last month.
If you drive around, you'll likely find a trusting neighbor with a package on the front porch. Everyone is getting their last-minute shipments and deliveries ahead of Christmas.
Amy Chase is one of those trusting people. She put four presents ready to be delivered on the porch of her South Hill home. She was on the phone with a friend Monday night in a front room and saw an unmarked car pull up to her home. She thought maybe the United States Postal Service does that this time of year. After all, it is busy. But she wasn't correct.
“One [man] ran up to the front porch, grabbed all four of the packages that I had ready to go out, we were shipping to friends and family all over the country and they took my packages and threw them in the back of the car and sped off,” Chase said.
It happened so fast she didn't have time to react.
“I thought maybe I should go after them but I'm eight and a half months pregnant and that would be a bad idea,” Chase laughed.
Chase is one more on a growing list of mail theft victims in Spokane County. Deputy Craig Chamberlin says Christmas time is big business for criminals looking for a quick way to collect valuables.
“Initially it kind of started in the southwest kind of rural Spokane County, now it has moved into the Northwood area, north Spokane County,” Chamberlin explained.
Chamberlin says Christmas cards are a huge draw in those obvious red envelopes. It's grandma's money just waiting to be swiped.
“As a neighbor, if you see suspicious people in your neighborhood driving around looking at your mailboxes, walking around, obviously that's a no-brainer, call 9-1-1,” Chamberlin said.
Chase made sure to alert her neighbors so they wouldn't become victims, too. Her presents were stolen but that's not going to ruin her Christmas spirit.
“I may come up with a better hiding place for my packages as I'm mailing them,” Chase said.
And if the thieves thought they made off like bandits then the joke is on them.
“Three hand-knit scarves going to friends in Oregon and then some headphones going to a family member in Indianapolis so,” she paused. “Maybe he has a girlfriend who likes scarves.”
If you still would like to use the USPS doorstep shipping option, opt for the postal worker to ring your doorbell to get the packages rather than leaving them on your porch.