Irish Channel residents warned about package thefts

People who live in the Irish Channel are being warned about a rash of thefts of items ordered online and left on front porches. Some of the thieves have even been caught on surveillance video.

"Yesterday, Christmas pajamas were stolen off a front porch," said Ryan McCabe, with the Irish Channel neighborhood association.

Thousands of packages will be delivered to New Orleans homes during the holidays, and in the Channel, thefts are already up.

"All of a sudden this year it's gotten really bad," said resident Brooke Woods.

McCabe added, " It's been a low-grade fever for a while, but recently there's been an uptick."

Resident Rick Viana said it happened so quickly, he believes the thieves actually trailed the delivery driver and took a stuffed animal sent by his parents for his daughter right after it was dropped off.

"Apparently UPS said it was delivered, and set it behind the trash can. I got here an hour later, and it wasn't here," he said.

Woods said she's been ripped off six times.

"Mostly clothes, maybe some presents," said Woods.

The Irish Channel Association has a warning to residents on its Facebook page.

"It's not fair to me, or the company - they have to resend, That's not fair," said Woods.

There are alternatives to home delivery. Shipping and receiving companies like Packrat Delivery Services on Magazine Street have seen big upticks in business. People have their goods delivered to Packrat for pickup later.

"Most of the people who come in and get that service have had something taken off their porch," said owner Marielou Ray.

"I have all my packages shipped to my office," said McCabe.

Delivery truck drivers say they do the best they can.

"It's all about hiding the package, putting it in a safe spot," said one driver. "If you put it in a door like that, of course it's gonna be stolen."

McCabe said he worries about the holidays ahead.

"Don't ruin a poor kid's Christmas," he said. "It's not nice."

UPS issued a statement saying that its drivers are trained to be alert and aware of their surroundings and to exercise sound judgment.

The NOPD is advising residents to notify shipping companies and tell them not to leave packages if no one is home.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.