Police warn neighbors about stolen mail, gifts this holiday season

Published: Dec. 18, 2013 at 2:35 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 at 3:01 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detectives are warning homeowners to pay close attention to their mailboxes and front porches.

WBTV looked at several police reports where someone reported a holiday package stolen. One of the areas hit is the Candlewyck subdivision near Ballantyne.

"These are all dead-end streets so for anyone to even venture down here that's pretty rare," said neighborhood association president Frances Ringley.

Ringley says she's heard from several concerned neighbors. Some who have come home to find out their Christmas packages are gone.

"We also had people stealing mail as well as packages," Ringley said.

Police say many times thieves lurk nearby and strike moments after the mail truck leaves.

"I sent out an email to tell all our neighbors just to be on the lookout," she said.

Ringley says she's seen a positive response to her email. She tells WBTV more people have been paying attention, and she's seen a stronger police presence in the area.

"Besides violated, you're angry and upset. It's really personal," she said. 

The Charlotte–Mecklenburg Police Department provided these home security tips:

  • Make sure your home is well lit. Turn on outside lights, spotlights, motions lights, etc. Leave several lights on timers while you are away to give your home that lived in look.
  • Keep all shrubbery trimmed. Do not allow shrubbery to conceal windows or doors.
  • Remove anything a burglar could climb up on to gain entry or use to knock out a window or door; items such as ladders, tools, tables, and chairs.
  • All exterior doors should be solid, rather than hollow core.
  • Don't leave garage roll down doors open, even while you are home or while you are doing yard work.
  • Use a deadbolt lock to secure your doors. A good deadbolt should have a 1" throw, if you have glass within 40" of the lock a burglar could reach in and unlock the door. A double cylinders lock (this type needs a key on both sides to unlock) should be used if glass is near the lock.
  • If you are going away contact a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail, newspaper and other delivered items.
  • Try not to leave gifts in open view. This is an invitation to burglars.
  • Don't advertise new gifts or purchases. Break up cartons before leaving them at the curb or dispose of them another way the morning of trash pick up.
  • Don't forget to engrave new gifts or purchases with your Drivers license number.
  • Don't open your door to strangers. Be wary of solicitors and salespersons. If a stranger asks to use your telephone, tell them to stay outside, lock the door behind you and make the call for them. Never let a stranger inside your home.
  • Don't give any information about yourself or your neighbor to a stranger.