Homestead man admits to stealing packages off doorsteps
A Homestead man pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing goods delivered last holiday season, the same day police arrested a Wilkinsburg man and accused him of taking Christmas presents in Squirrel Hill.
Both cases highlight calls for consumers to safeguard their gifts for others, officials said.
“With the ease and convenience of having gifts delivered right to the door and the hectic nature of the holidays, consumers often forget to take the necessary precautions to help protect purchases from doorstep thieves,” said Caitlin Vancas, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania,
Guy Lamont Palmer Jr., 25, pleaded guilty to burglary, receiving stolen property and other charges. Police said he followed UPS delivery vans and swooped in to steal packages from North Side residences.
A residential surveillance video on Garfield Avenue captured Palmer in action. He told Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani he stole to feed a marijuana habit.
A fingerprint helped Swissvale police identify a suspect wanted in connection with delivered packages stolen from Regent Square homes, Chief Greg Geppert said.
“It's one of our frequent fliers, a juvenile we've sent away a lot,” he said. “It's ridiculous the burglaries you see this time of the year.”
Pittsburgh police arrested Steven Green, 48, after seeing him walking in and out of apartment building lobbies and opening and discarding a white packing envelope. He is charged with theft and other counts.
National figures are not kept on package thefts, but holiday crime losses are expected to cost U.S. retailers $8.9 billion, according to a new study by the United Kingdom-based Centre for Retail Research.
Authorities believe delivered packages often offer easier targets — either with criminals trailing delivery vans or trolling neighborhoods looking for packages left outside.
Through last week, Americans spent $29.3 billion for online purchases this holiday season, up 13 percent over last year, according to research company comScore.
Pittsburgh FedEx spokeswoman Angela Wheland said policies are in place to keep thefts down.
“Our drivers all know to be alert to suspicious activity, especially this time of the year,” she said. “We give our drivers the authority not to deliver a package if they don't think it is safe to do so.”
Consumers also can track packages online and make special requests to bolster safe delivery, such as asking it to be held at a FedEx facility, rerouted to a neighbor's house or have it delivered in the evening when someone will be home, Wheland said.
Neighbors can be an extra set of eyes, Geppert said.
“If anybody sees anything,” he said, “we ask that they call the police.”
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Point Park graduate’s ‘mugshot’ photos hit nerve on racism
- Inmate assaults Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputy at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
- Pittsburgh’s HealthyRide system begins launch Sunday
- Medical examiner: Dormont man found near incline died of multiple injuries
- 11 vying to temporarily fill Danko’s vacant seat on Allegheny County Council
- Allegheny Intermediate Unit to distribute $530,000 in STEAM grants to 28 school districts
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto works to smooth path for business ties with Cuba
- Newsmaker: Ursula Payne
- Homicide by vehicle trial of Munhall man Brezicky closes; verdict Monday
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- Bethel Park teacher’s profane tweet raises eyebrows