We have all seen the evening news talking about folks that follow the UPS truck and snatching the boxes from doorsteps.

Well it is real. On Friday I returned home to my place on South Van Ness and pulled the junk mail out of the mailbox and took it downstairs for recycling. I noticed something curious. There was a box from Amazon and another from GAP online in the black trashcan. Well, I know everyone in the building is super careful about recycling. I wondered why the boxes were in the wrong can. I grabbed the boxes from black can and for some reason looked at the address label. The boxes were addressed to some people who live down the street. What was even more troubling was that the boxes had different addresses. The deliveries had been made to next-door neighbors.

I wrote a little note outlining the problem and taped it to their front doors. Who knows they may have dropped the boxes in a rush. When I got home from making the notification, I looked at the building security camera footage. I started my review at 4 am. Fortunately, movement activates the cameras. The active sensing area begins as one enters the gate. There weren’t a lot of clips to watch. At first the only conclusion I was able to draw was that I needed to lose weight.

Then at 3:43 in the afternoon a young man and woman parked a bike out front, walked through the gate, and triggered the camera. They were carrying the two boxes I had retrieved from the trash but they were unopened. The woman sat down on the stairs and opened one of the boxes, which was filled with clothing from GAP. The guy opened the other box while crouching behind the bush out front. The girl methodically placed the boxes into the trash and they stuffed the contents into a shopping bag as their knapsacks appeared to be filled to capacity. The two, then casually walked out through the gate.

I called the police and was told that they couldn’t do anything until the folks who were robbed called and made a report. I told the officer that I had a video of the unboxing if they needed it. The officer thanked me. I wrote another note outlining what the police had said and walked down and taped it to the victim’s front door as nobody was home. Later on Saturday Officer Valerie Richardson at SFPD called for more details and assured me that they are on it. If anyone knows the people in the video you should call the tip line – 415-575-4444 or Text-A-Tip to “TIP411″.

On Friday after writing my notes to neighbors I stopped to talk with another friend and neighbor. One of the two residents returned. I asked them if they had been expecting a package from the GAP or Amazon. The guy said, “Yes and I was told there was a delivery from Amazon made today.” I told him that I thought that someone might have intercepted his package. I then told him to call the police and file a complaint and that I would be happy to provide anything the police needed. A little later the other victim gave me a call and came down to view the video.

The message here is watch your packages and watch the packages delivered (placed on the stairs) for others in your building. If the package has one of your floor’s neighbors take it inside. If it is on another floor bring it inside and leave a note on the other door. If you were told a delivery was made but nothing is there make a police report. I guess it is the season to watch each other’s back a little more than normal. Now is the beginning of a time where lots of deliveries are being made. Unfortunately there are some brazen folks that follow the delivery trucks. Our holidays shouldn’t be theirs.