On the evening of Friday, December 16, 2011, around 5:30pm, two teenage boys came to the door of a Gold Creek residence asking for a donation for a ski trip. Apparently, the boys were selling chocolates to raise money for the trip. When the homeowner told them that they would not contribute, the boys became agitated.
A little later, the homeowner noted a dry spot where a package had been on their front porch. Another member of the household had seen a package there before the boys arrived. A call to the store that had sent the package confirmed that the package had been delivered earlier that afternoon.
The homeowner went around the neighborhood to find the boys. They found them and confronted them about the package. The boys denied seeing any package. They also revealed that they were from Lynnwood and that a “supervisor” dropped them off in the neighborhood, checks on them from time to time. The homeowner hung around in the area, and a little later observed a navy blue Ford Econoline van pick up the boys. The homeowner provided a description and license number of the van to the Sheriff’s Office.
Note: The boys may or may not have taken the package (I am sure the homeowner understandably has a definite opinion on who took that package). But, this incident shows two problems that we commonly have in modern life, solicitors and package theft.
Over time, door to door solicitors have become a source of suspicion, probably with justification. There are too many examples of burglars using door to door sales as a cover when you answer the door. Also, you can get ripped off if you buy from a stranger who you will never see again. A “company” often will drop a crew off in a neighborhood to work then pick them up after a few hours to work another neighborhood. The most common suggestion is to tell the solicitor to go away, that you are not interested. And if they get surly or refuse to leave, tell them that you are calling 911 as you dial 911.
The other issue is package theft. This is a prime time of year for package theft. And this week before Christmas is probably the most intense period for package delivery. Neighbors’ watching out for neighbors is an important way to prevent this type of theft. Ask your stay at home neighbor to pick up your package after it is delivered. Also, ask them to look out for suspicious vehicles following delivery trucks. Some other ways to help prevent theft include:
· Track the package’s progress online. This way you will know when it is delivered.
· Ask to have the package placed on the back porch or out of sight on the front porch.
· Have the package delivered to a nearby package store.