Police say to take extra care this holiday shopping season.

OGDEN — 'Tis the season for holiday shopping and if you do most of your buying online, beware the Grinch that's stealing Christmas.

Thieves are poaching packages right off the porches of homes in a number of Monroe Couny towns. Residents in Gates, Brighton and Ogden have reported purchases stolen. The thieves either follow delivery trucks or seize on packages left outside.

“One time, the FedEx guy told me to cancel my cable because we were buying too much,” said Tim Inzinna, who lives on Sunnyside Drive in Brighton.

His neighborhood has been dealing with a package poacher lately and he’s planning to put up cameras just to be safe.

"Usually somebody is here, they ring the door bell and we try to bring it right in,” he said.

Georgette Ciccarello lives on Jorpark Circle in Ogden, which is a town that has also been hit by package thieves.

"There's an awful lot of theft and it's a bad time, especially around Christmas time,” she said.

This time last year, a homeowner in Rochester caught a thief on a home surveillance camera walking up onto his porch in broad daylight to steal an Amazon Kindle. The video showed the suspect shove the box into a garbage bag and then peddle away on a bike.

“A lot of it is opportunity theft but we have heard of rings of people doing this as an organized activity,” said Ogden Police Chief Chris Mears.

Most of the stolen merchandise is then liquidated.

“Some of the stuff we have seen still in the box on eBay and on craigslist,” Mears said.

The best advice to avoid losing packages is to have them delivered to work or a trusted neighbor who you know will be home. If those aren’t options, require the delivery company to get a signature for drop-off or use one of their secured drop locations.

Police said if you come across a package poacher, don’t confront her or him.

"Call 911, if you see someone in your neighborhood who looks like they might be casing a delivery truck or following behind one, or somebody going up to your neighbor’s house and taking a package," Mears said. "(If) you know that's not right, just give us a call."

 

And it may not just be actual packages the thieves are after: “Somebody who mailed a check through the postal service but placed the check in their mailbox to mail out and put the flag up for pick-up that day…the mail was stolen. The check was stolen, forged and cashed,” Chief Mears says. So, as you prepare to spread some holiday cheer make sure you physically take your cards, gift cards or gifts directly to the post office or a blue box to mail.