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Packages, holiday gifts being stolen from doorsteps statewide, police say

Union Leader Correspondent

December 20. 2017 12:22PM
Bedford police say neighborhoods in the western part of town have been targeted by thieves collecting mail and packages. (Kimberly Houghton/Correspondent)

BEDFORD — Thieves have been taking advantage of the influx of packages and gifts being delivered to doorsteps and mailboxes throughout the state this holiday season.

"It is that time of year, unfortunately," Merrimack Lt. Matt Tarleton said.

Tuesday, someone stole a package left near a front door in the north end of Merrimack, Tarleton said.

In Bedford, police are investigating several mail thefts in the western part of town, from Route 101 to New Boston Road, to the Amherst line.

Early Wednesday, an occupant of a newer-model white sedan was seen dumping mail in the area of Perry and Rosewell roads, police said. The mail had been stolen and was opened before being discarded.

"During this time of year especially, we see thieves target people's mail looking for money or anything of value," Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski said in a news release. "Please take the proper precautions to prevent becoming a victim of this type of crime and contact police immediately if you have seen anything suspicious or out of the ordinary."

Bedford police asked residents in the neighborhood of Perry and Rosewell roads who have security cameras to check the footage and call police if they find any helpful information.

Tartleton said Merrimack police have received one report of mail theft so far this holiday season, but in previous years there have been numerous thefts.

"Thieves will drive around and look to see what is easy and right there on the front step. Don't make it easy for them," Tarleton said.

Some delivery services, such as UPS, can be given specific instructions for package deliveries, he said, recommending that customers notify the carrier to leave packages at a back door or on an inside porch or other secure area not easily visible from the road.

Tarleton said anyone who is not home and who is expecting a package should notify a trusted neighbor who can bring the package somewhere safe instead of it being left on a front porch or doorstep.

Portsmouth police reported this week they are investigating a possible organized crime enterprise targeting neighborhoods in the city's south end.

Thieves are obtaining personal information such as names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses, then using it to buy things online and having it delivered to an address.

"They then track shipment of these products to local addresses and are approaching mail carriers, UPS drivers and FedEx drivers in the vicinity of the address, identifying themselves as the owners of the package and providing fraudulent identification or names to attempt to obtain the items," police said in a news release.

The thieves also watch for an item to be delivered and will grab it before the homeowner is even aware anything was dropped off, police said.

Bedford police urge residents to request notifications on all deliveries via phone or email, to monitor packages in transit and to require a signature when packages are delivered to ensure their items are not left unattended.

Tarleton said the postal service and delivery services are extremely busy this time of year. Additional employees hired to assist with deliveries might not know where residents prefer to have their packages left, he said.

Crime Bedford Merrimack Portsmouth

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