RICHMOND, Va. -- Police issued a warning to online shoppers about a man, dressed like a package delivery driver, stealing packages left outside of Richmond homes.
"In several incidents, the adult male wore a blue delivery-type vest which could give onlookers the impression he was legitimately making deliveries," a Richmond Police spokesperson wrote in an email about the crimes.
RPD said at least one of the thefts occurred in the 4500 block of Cary Street Road in the city's West End.
"With a parcel or box in hand, the suspect would approach a porch, which already had parcels present, switch out the real delivered boxes with the one he approached with, and walk to a waiting vehicle," according to a police spokesman.
The crimes were reported in the city's Third Police Precinct, which includes neighborhoods Carytown, Forest Hill, Malvern Gardens, Museum District, The Fan, and Westover Hills.
Lt. William Phibbs urged families to be strategic about their shipments.
"With COVID-19, people are shopping online and they’re using Amazon. Today’s Black Friday so people are getting stuff delivered from all sorts of distribution points to their house and a lot of times they’re not there," he explained.
The package thefts typically happen in less than 10 seconds, Phibbs said.
"If you remove the package from being dropped off and left for hours on end you prevent the crime," he stated.
Police offered the following tips to online shoppers:
- Have packages delivered to work
- Ask a friend to pick packages off your porch
- Use a distribution center or delivery locker
- Request signature on delivery.
The thief was seen driving a blue car, possibly a Nissan Sentra, according to police.
An Amazon spokesperson told CBS 6 they have determined the suspect is not employed with the company.
Anyone with information was asked to call Third Precinct Lieutenant William Phibbs at 804-646-1412 or call Crime Stoppers at 804 780-1000.