Resident cautious after package stolen


Jade Meyer

New Orleans East resident Tomeka Burton personally receives her mail from United States Postal Service on Jan. 11, 2020. Burton said she will be home to pick up her mail after her past packages were stolen.

Jade Myers

Tomeka Burton’s package was stolen from her New Orleans East home in broad daylight, and she said she thinks the porch pirate lives just feet away from her home.

When Burton found out about her package theft last year, she checked her surveillance video the moment she arrived home on Oct. 31.

“I immediately rolled my camera back just to see if there was anything suspicious in the area,” Burton said.

After monitoring the video for a few minutes, Burton found what she was looking for. Footage showed a tan Ford SUV passing back and forth in front of her house five times, then an individual could be seen walking to Burton’s mailbox, opening it and taking off with her package.

“It was really disheartening, to be honest with you, because this is a pretty decent area, and we wouldn’t expect that to happen,” Burton said.

After talking with police about the incident, Burton took matters into her own hands. She created flyers with a description of the thief’s car, license plate and appearance. Then, she walked from house to house, placing flyers on her neighbors’ doors to warn them about the situation.

In the midst of alerting others, Burton spotted the same vehicle from her video just four doors down from her Winrock Drive home. This gave her reason to believe her package thief could live just feet away from her home, she said.

“For the thief to be possibly our neighbor, that really hurts the most,” Burton added.

Over 36% of Americans said they’ve had their packages stolen from outside there home, according to CNBC. That’s over one-third of the U.S. population. Postal services like UPS offer ways to prevent package thefts, including allowing customers to pick up their deliveries and choosing the option to sign for their package.

“Have it sent somewhere where somebody is there all the time,” Loyola Police Chief Todd Warren said.

Warren explained that though surveillance cameras do help with identifying the accused, it does not completely stop the action of porch piracy from happening.

“A lot of people are doing the cameras on their front porch and it does not totally prevent it, but it does give you some ideas to help get a suspect if they do get it,” Warren added.

With the increase in online shopping, the problems that come with it, like package theft, increases too, Warren said.

“It has become much more prevalent. I think with the Amazon culture and online shopping increasing — I think thieves have realized that it’s a lucrative business for them,” Warren said.

Warren said that the best way to prevent package thefts is by being at the location the moment your package gets delivered.

“The shorter time you leave it there is a good thing. Try to schedule your deliveries when you’re not out of town and when they don’t have to sit on the front porch for hours,” Warren explained.

Burton has an idea of who stole her package, and she said she wants an explanation of why her package was taken.

“As an adult, just say ‘I apologize,’” Burton said.

For now, whenever Burton is expecting a package delivery she said she’ll be home to receive it.