On the phone? No, accused package thief on the prowl!

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A man who appeared to be on an afternoon stroll, talking on his cell phone, instead turned out to be a package thief.  That’s according to surveillance video and information provided by the New Orleans Police Department.

According to police, the crime happened on January 31 at about 1:15 in the afternoon in the 200 block of North Bernadotte Street.  It took all of ten seconds.

Package thefts are especially common around the holiday season, but they can happen any time of year.

The NOPD released some tips for people to protect themselves and their deliveries.  Here they are:

Provide instructions for where to leave your packages. Do you like your packages left behind the big planter or tucked behind the grill beside the back door?

  • FedEx Delivery Manager® provides one-time-only or standing instructions for where you want your deliveries. Or call the driver where to leave a delivery that’s on the way by calling 800-463-3339. Sign up is free at fedex.com/delivery
  • UPS My Choice® service sends a text message or email the day before a package arrives to let the customer know when their package is going to be delivered and help registered members decide when and how their packages are delivered. If the initial delivery time doesn’t work, there are options to reschedule or reroute the package for a small fee.

Consider an alternate destination. Have the package delivered to your workplace or to a family member, friend or neighbor who is home during the day to accept delivery.

  • Send it to the nearest FedEx Office location. Have deliveries sent to the nearest FedEx Office location, and we’ll hold it for you for up to five business days. FedEx provides this service at no added cost. If it’s a FedEx Express package, you can also have your package sent to one of our FedEx Express stations. Find the location nearest you at fedex.com/locate.
  • Consider using mailbox services at The UPS Store. These centers can serve as a “mailroom receiving agent” and offer a real street address, secure 24-hour access (at participating locations) and email or text notification when you have a package waiting. Unlike the Post Office, The UPS Store can accept packages from all carriers.
  • If the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) customer won’t be home to receive the package they can provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Just visit usps.com http://usps.com, enter the tracking number and select Delivery Instructions.

Request a signature. If you’re shipping something of high value or you just want to be sure items aren’t left unattended, request a signature for packages to be released. The USPS Signature Services help ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.

Taking a holiday trip? You can request a vacation hold on all FedEx shipments for up to 14 days and the USPS offers Hold for Pickup, where customers can collect their package at their local post office or redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by using USPS Package Intercept.

Ask for a ring. Give instructions via FedEx Delivery Manager to let your driver know to always ring your doorbell or knock on your door when a package is being left.

Schedule your delivery. Pick a delivery time and date that works for you or redirect your packages. FedEx Delivery Manager alerts you of every FedEx package headed to your home, even if you don’t have the tracking number. If you know you won’t be home and want to send the delivery somewhere else, just redirect it to where you’ll be or to another secure location.

Pick your delivery spot. UPS My Choice members can take advantage of the UPS Access Point network, which includes more than 4,400 UPS Store locations and 9,000 other locations in metro areas throughout the U.S.  Route an inbound shipment directly to a UPS Access Point location once it’s in the UPS system, or set a preference to have all packages delivered directly to that location instead of a UPS driver attempting a delivery to their home.

Choose the most secure form of delivery. For the most valuable packages, USPS customers can opt for Registered Mail service, where packages receive special-handling from the time they’re mailed until they’re delivered, documenting the chain of custody.

If you believe a package has been stolen, contact your New Orleans Police Department district station or call the non-emergency number: 504-821-2222.