Homeowners reminded to protect holiday packages

Mail carriers can be asked not to leave packages on doorsteps.
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A lot of Hoosiers are having gifts delivered to their homes this week, but that means you have to protect those packages from thieves.

Police and the post office are trying to figure out who stole packages delivered to a home in a Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. Although it is a federal crime that comes with serious jail time, police are still warning residents to protect themselves.

"The lady down the street found them in the driveway and they were empty at the time. She brought them by, talked to my wife, dropped them off," said Michael McKenzie-Veal, who has gifts sent from his son stolen.

Right now, the post office and delivery companies are handling millions of holiday deliveries. While driving through neighborhoods Tuesday, Eyewitness News noticed a number of packages left on doorsteps.

The post office says customers have options when it comes to delivery.

"We don't tend to leave packages on the porch. We leave a card, usually, and make every attempt to deliver," said USPS spokesperson Mary K. Dando.

The post office suggests that you require a delivery signature, or buy insurance for the value of your gift. You can also use a work address if no one is home.

"I told him if you want to ship us something else, ship it to my office," McKenzie-Veal said.

The post office also warns anybody in any neighborhood taking packages or mail could be in big trouble and the punishment may not come lightly.

"It can cost you up to five years in prison or a fine up to $250,000," Dando said.

She says "Grinches" better think twice before taking packages delivered to others. Fortunately, McKenzie-Veal's son did purchase delivery insurance on his family's gifts.

"To be honest, I don't know what was in the package. He didn't tell me," McKenzie-Veal said.