Online shoppers have been warned after a thief made off with $200 worth of presents just two minutes after they were delivered.
The moment was captured on a security camera outside an ACT resident's home, sparking a concerning theory that the thieves in question were following the Australia Post van to steal packages moments after they were delivered.
“Please beware, guys,” the anonymous poster shared on a local Facebook group. “It might be that they are following the van and stealing packages he drops off at people’s houses.”
The moment was captured on a security camera on Tuesday and in the 17-second clip, a hooded figure is seen running from the front door of the home in Kambah, before jumping into the back of a ute.
“Anyone recognise this car or person?” pleaded the resident on a community Facebook group. “This afternoon around 6.15pm Australia Post dropped my parcel off at the front door. At 6.17pm these scumbags pull up and steal it!”
They went on to explain the package contained items from clothing store Seed set to be given as Christmas presents. The incident was reported to the police, but it's believed the car had stolen number plates so could not be tracked down.
As Australians endure ongoing cost of living pressures, some have speculated criminals could employ such tactics to put more presents under the tree this year.
"We do see a spike in parcel theft particularly around the Christmas period, where they’re obviously targeting gifts and Christmas hampers that people pay off through the year and have delivered to their home," NSW Detective Inspector Adam Wilson told the Western Weekender recently.
"Most of these offences are opportunist, which means that the people involved in parcel theft or offenders will simply drive around the streets looking for unattended parcels."
Police respond to incident
ACT Police confirmed the incident had been reported and has urged anyone concerned about thefts to consider alternate options. “If people are concerned about thefts of parcels, they can consider using parcel lockers or, if possible, click and collect via a local retailer,” said a police spokesperson.
"Anyone with information in relation to this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, quoting reference number 7607590."
"Theft after delivery is a criminal offence, and customers should contact the police if they suspect their mail has been tampered with or stolen," a spokesperson for Australia Post told Yahoo News.
"Customers are encouraged to download the Aus Post app, where they can choose to redirect parcels to their local Post Office, a PO Box or a 24/7 parcel locker. This can be done even when the parcel is already on its way, providing a secure and convenient alternative to home delivery."
How can I protect my parcels?
Personal finance expert at Finder, Kate Browne, previously shared with Yahoo several tips to protect yourself from opportunistic thieves.
Track your parcel: Browne said Aussies should take advantage of adding a tracking number to their parcels. “In most cases they’ll send you a message with an estimated delivery day so you can make sure you’re at home to receive it,” she said.
Sign on delivery: Some retailers will give you the option to ‘sign on delivery’, which adds an extra layer of protection, Browne said. Just bear in mind that if you’re not home, you’ll need to go to the post office to collect your item.
Set up a porch cam: Having a camera at your door can deter thieves from stealing your deliveries. If they do still take off with a parcel, you have a better shot at identifying who did it, and recovering your items.
If you know you’re rarely home, another option is a parcel locker, Browne said. These are free to use and open 24/7. “These options might cost a bit extra, but it’s a small price to pay for the security of your Christmas shopping.”
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