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CanadaCrime of opportunity: Calgary police warn of increase in parcel thefts

06:55  07 december  2018
06:55  07 december  2018 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Calgary cyclists know the reality all too well: bicycles are prime targets for thieves. Calgary police say the problem gets worse as we move farther into summer, but the force is already reporting a quarter of all bicycle thefts this year — around 250 — happened in the month of June alone.

Crime of opportunity: Calgary police warn of increase in parcel thefts© Global News Calgary couple is warning others after catching someone on camera taking a package off their porch.

It's the season of giving -- and nowadays with online shopping, many of us get those gifts delivered in the mail.

But a parcel sitting out on a front porch is a prime target, according to police.

A Calgary couple knows first-hand just how quick a Christmas package can get swiped.

Hayley Erza ordered Christmas gifts on Cyber Monda, including a big-ticket present for her common-law partner. They arrived to her home on Wednesday afternoon.

When her partner, Jamie Frost, came home later that day he saw the cardboard package not far from their porch, but it was torn open on the side.

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A crime of opportunity is a crime that is committed without planning when the perpetrator sees that he/she has the chance to commit the act at that moment and seizes it.

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"When I found it I just thought the shipper had damaged it," Frost said.

READ MORE: Steps to prevent porch pirates from stealing your holiday gifts

So Frost went to check out what happened on the couple's security camera.

The video shows that just seven minutes after a UPS driver dropped the parcel off, someone walking up the street opened the box and snagged some of the contents for themselves.

The security footage shows a man approach the front porch, grab the parcel and walk towards the back of the home. A few moments later the same man walks back towards the street with something under his arm.

Erza said two items were missing from the package.

"It was just so frustrating -- such a violation. When Jamie first sent me the footage and I watched this guy help himself to our stuff -- I was just livid," she said.

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The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is now investigating, calling the man in the security video a suspect and reaching out to the public for help identifying WATCH: It's a Christmas crime of opportunity and a Calgary woman is one of the latest victims. Just minutes after five packages were dropped off at her

TORONTO – Police are warning the public about a string of distraction thefts occurring in and around the Greater Toronto Area targeting mostly elderly women. “There’s an organized crime ring responsible for these thefts that have occurred from the beginning of the summer to the present day,” said Det. Sgt.

They called the Calgary Police Service, which is now investigating.

CPS said parcel thefts do rise over the Christmas season, but added they aren't very common and the thieves are typically hard to catch.

"Being a crime of opportunity, sometimes it can be difficult to obtain that best evidence if people do have security cameras installed on the exterior of their residence," CPS Sgt. Matt Baker said.

READ MORE: Porch pirate or prank? Langley woman’s package stolen, then returned with apologetic note

Luckily for Erza, the company she ordered from is re-sending her stolen items for free and they are expected to arrive before Christmas.

While it's an inconvenience, Erza and Frost said they are disappointed more than anything.

"It's the Christmas season, it's all about good will towards man and stuff -- but here's somebody just going off and totally ruining the reason for the season," Erza said.

If you are ordering packages, CPS has the following tips to prevent them from being stolen:

Have your package delivered to your workplace

Ship your package to the closest store near your house

Require a signature for drop-off or pickup at a package depot

Track your package online so you know when it will arrive

Ask a neighbour to look out for your package and take it inside if you’re not home

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