Five people face charges for stealing delivered packages from city porches, authorities said.
Two 16-year-olds and a 23-year-old are accused of randomly taking the packages from a half dozen individual homes, then routing them to a vacant property on Avenue A, according to court paperwork. Investigators also charged two unnamed juveniles.
Postal officials also offered a list of suggestions for those expecting packages, although they added that they see such activity infrequently.
The thefts happened Sept. 29 and 30, according to papers filed in court. Police arrested the three last week and charged each with felony stolen property possession and misdemeanor petit larceny.
Postal inspectors used complaints and a tip to catch up with a car Sept. 30, postal inspector supervisor John Kehoe said Monday. Inspectors then stopped the car, which, they said, had packages inside.
Facing charges are Jonathan Ramnauth, 23, of Michigan Avenue; Satesh Itwaru, 16, of Lincoln Avenue; and Shefeek Karim, 16, of Emmett Street. Kehoe also noted fourth and fifth individuals charged, but they were charged as juveniles.
Inspectors worked the case jointly with city police leading to last week’s formal charges against the five.
Kehoe said it’s unclear what the group was doing with the packages, though the thefts appeared random.
“Basically they drove up and down the streets, and if they saw a box, they took it,” Kehoe said.
He also said it’s possible they could have been taking packages prior to the Sept. 29-30 window, but the first missing package was reported Sept. 29.
According to court paperwork, the group took the specific packages from porches on Morningside Avenue, Keyes Avenue, Parkwood Boulevard, Union Street and two addresses on Lexington Avenue.
Court paperwork also includes information on the specific items taken and recovered, contents that themselves suggest randomness.
The items taken, according to court paperwork: Women’s clothes and a backpack valued at $79; an oil diffuser valued at $22; a solar generator, food and a pipe cutter valued at $336; lady’s blouses and tops valued at $72 and women’s boots valued at $70. The same description of generator, food and pipe cutter is listed for two addresses.
Asked about the threat of stolen packages in general, Kehoe said he hasn’t seen it much in his work as an inspector. But he and a postal service spokeswoman offered several tips for residents to ensure their packages make it inside safe.
According to the USPS, residents should:
--Avoid sending cash by mail.
--Not leave delivered mail and packages unattended.
--Consider an alternate shipping address, such as a neighbor who’s home, or to your workplace.
--Use USPS Package Intercept to reroute packages or have them held for pickup.
--Customize delivery with special instructions with USPS.com and the tracking number.
--Hold mail at the post office when out of town.
--Use the USPS signature service to require a signature upon delivery.
--Use registered mail for most valuable packages.
--Use post office boxes.
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, email@example.com or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.