By John Shumway


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the holiday season upon us, police are urging you to be extra vigilant if you’ve ordered any gifts online. That’s because thieves are targeting homes, stealing packages right from your doorstep.

The aftermath of Cyber Monday is a heck of a lot of work for the delivery folks.

“We’re expected to deliver 700 million packages between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31,” said Jackie Fajt, of the United Parcel Service.

It’s their banner time of year as the cyber treasures arrive and no one is more aware of this than the package thieves all over the country who brazenly follow the deliveries with the intention of ten-finger withdrawals.

It’s become a problem recently in Pittsburgh Police Zone 4’s area of Shadyside and Squirrel Hill.

The zone took to Twitter on Thursday saying, “Zone 4 police reporting an increase in package thefts from residences and apartment lobbies.”

The delivery drivers are well aware of the thieves’ habit of operating in their shadow.

“They are trained to look for anyone that’s following them,” said Fajt. “Also, we’ll notify [the drivers] if law enforcement notifies us of issues in neighborhoods.”

But you can help protect your purchase with a little additional clicking and typing when you place your order. Be specific where they should be leaving your package.

“May be it’s out back in the backyard shed or behind the garage, and they can enter that information into their handheld computer,” said Fajt.

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UPS encourages you to use their service called “MyChoice.”

“Which is a free service that gives them an email or text message that tells them when the package is going to be delivered,” said Fajt.

And if you’re not going to be there, you can divert it to where you are or a neighbor.

FedEx calls its delivery customization service “FedEx Delivery Manager.” The postal service will hold your package at the post office if you require a signature and no one is there to sign.

Finally, if you are at home during the day in a residential area, the police and your neighbors could use your help. If you see someone suspicious going up to front doors and leaving with packages, it’s the old see something – say something. They are urging those people to contact police.