Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Watch out: packages stolen from the 1300 block of Otis Place

If you live around Otis, be careful when receiving packages in the mail, some folks are reporting that they're being stolen. A reader wrote in with a story:
Starting about two to three weeks ago, residents on the 1300 block of Otis Pl. (between 14th St. and Holmead Pl. NW) have been reporting theft of mail packages left on their porches.  It appears that someone is walking down the street in the middle of the day and stealing packages that have been left out.  At a guess, this is happening between about noon and 3 PM, since that is when many deliveries arrive. Residents should be aware of this if they are receiving packages, and if they see someone unfamiliar going up on people's porches you may want to check them out, take a picture, etc.

If you lose or have lost a package, you can file reports with the police (http://mpdc.dc.gov/service/file-police-report-online) and with the Postal Inspection Service  (https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/mailfraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/ReportMailTheft.aspx).  It is doubtful that the police will make an effort for one or two reports, but if this continues it may get their attention.

At least one family on Otis has reported the repeated theft of several hundreds of dollars worth of baby clothing and gear – which is really sad and unfortunate.
This is definitely a shame, and as far as I know there it's a good solution to preventing it, aside from more police patrols. You could try putting in a camera, which would possibly identify the thief, but then the police would have to find him. Another option is to get the packages sent somewhere else, maybe work. Or the low-tech method, if you're friends with a neighbor who's around, they might be able to grab the packages when they arrive to drop them off to you later. You'd be surprised how friendly folks can be, one of my old neighbors used to do that for some of us.

Any other ideas to avoid this unfortunate crime?


  1. This used to happen to me all the time when I lived on Irving St between 11th and Sherman. Big vendors (e.g. Amazon) will usually reimburse you for stolen items, or you can have them deliver to an Amazon locker. Apart from that, I found office was the way to go.

  2. I've had at least five packages stolen over the past year from my front steps on 11th and Park Road. We call the police every time, and thankfully the vendors have been nice enough to replace our stolen goods, but the whole thing really sucks, and there don't seem to be many good alternatives.

    You can always buy a PO Box at the local post office to receive deliveries for you ($11/month). It's a relatively cheap solution, but the post office on Georgia Ave keeps such inconvenient hours that it will not work for people with 9-5 jobs.

    The UPS store on Monroe and 14th will also receive and store packages for you, but it costs $28-$35/month depending on how many packages you receive. That's a lot of $ just to make sure you get your mail!

  3. We've had similar problems on 11th between Fairmont and Girard. Sounds like someone has been doing this for awhile and focuses around 11th St.

  4. We had packages stolen off the porch recently on Euclid St between 11th and 13th, and filed online police reports on MPD's website.

    Another option is Basecamp, at 18th/T NW in Adams Morgan, which offers package concierge services, with very reasonable rates ($20 annual fee, and a few dollars per package depending on size)


  5. I too used to lived on Irving and sherman, and this happened to me all the time. One time I was off work, and actually saw two males across the street stealing packages from a house. They just walked up took the package and started opening them while walking down the street. There was a car waiting for them at the end of the street to pick them up.

    When they were about 15 yards from my house, I went out side to get a look at them (two black males, one had very long hair tied up). A cop actually was driving up irving as I came out, I tried waving him down, but he completely ignored me. Fucking asshole.

  6. We had two packages taken within a couple of weeks of each other recently along with our snow shovel. Work is definitely that place to have anything delivered but it's a shame that it has to come to that. Whole new meaning to being neighborly….

  7. There have been package thefts all over this side of Georgia yet the cops don't do anything. Nor does Muriel Bowser. The cops are incompetent.

  8. I'm a tv news producer looking to interview someone about packages being stolen from their porch. Erin WUSA9 202-895-5556.


  9. I live near 14th & Oak Street NW. This morning as I was leaving my building, 2 neighbors were at the front door calling the police. Apparently, a thief stole 3-4 packages from nearby neighbors, went through them, and dumped what he didn’t want on our building’s stoop.

    Our building have had a couple of incidents – a neighbor caught a guy trying to leave the building with packages. When confronted, the guy just dropped the packages and left.

    Personally, I’ve had problems with packages being delivered in the past year. 3 times, the USPS’s website would state that the package was delivered but I never received anything. I was able to track down 1 package – USPS uses temporary drivers on certain days in certain area, so my package was sitting in the temp’s truck for a week although the website say the package has been delivered. The other 2 packages I now suspect were stolen from our building.

    I would suggest that, if possible, you have packages or anything of value sent to your place of work during the Holiday season – especially if you have an open mail area without a doorman or building staff.

    I hope these thieves are caught so they don’t ruin anyone’s holiday.

  10. Sorry to hear that -- I actually just got an email from another person on Oak, posted it today: http://newcolumbiaheights.blogspot.com/2014/12/beware-package-thieves-hitting-1400.html


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