Beware of Grinch-y Claus stealing your packages

If you do much of your Christmas shopping online, police want you to be cautious about what kind of delivery you select.

Last week, the Franklin post office called police to report that eight residents were missing packages that had been delivered. The residents suspected that the packages were stolen from their front stoops.

The only reports so far this year came from Franklin and Bargersville, but stolen packages during the holidays is becoming a growing problem due to more people shopping online, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.

As Christmas gets closer, reports of stolen packages will become more frequent, Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan said.

“It happens every year,” Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matt Fillenwarth said.

Police suggest steps to take to ensure your packages end up safely in your possession.

Residents should check with their employer to see if they can have packages shipped to their workplace, where they can accept the shipment in person, police said.

Other solutions such as tracking numbers on the items help you know when the package arrives so residents can have someone pick it up if they can’t go home to get it during the day.

Police also said having packages shipped to local UPS and FedEx stores or post offices removes the risk of the item sitting on the porch for hours where someone can snatch it.

In recent years, police learned about thieves who follow UPS and FedEx trucks and take the packages off the front door steps and porches after they’re delivered, Cox said.

And if your package comes up missing, don’t feel discouraged and decide not to report it to police. The more reports, the better police can figure out which area these thefts are happening.

In recent years, when multiple package thefts were reported, Franklin police put a dummy package with a GPS unit on a front porch in an attempt to catch someone who stole the package, O’Sullivan said.

Police recommend purchasing shipping insurance for packages. Officers rely on leads from neighbors who see someone or surveillance video that can identify the thief or thieves, Cox said.

The simplest way to avoid having packages stolen is notifying a neighbor who will be home of your expected shipment, if you can’t have the package delivered to you at work, Cox said.

“Sometimes we get lucky and catch these people when we find packages in a car during a traffic stop,” Cox said. “But most of the time it’s going to be because neighbors are helping neighbors, looking out for them.”

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.