Consumers beware of holiday crimes


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The winter months cover a time of seasonal giving and cheer.

Unfortunately, crime doesn’t pause for the holidays.

Especially after major online shopping events like Cyber Monday.

Ryan Adamson with the Terre Haute Police Department says you have to watch out for the occasional Grinch looking to steal.

He says, “Thefts of packages increase this time of year. Somebody is at work, they get a notification on their phone that UPS, or Fed-Ex, has dropped off a package. They get home and lo and behold, it’s not there. So be mindful of where your packages are going.”

Criminals are looking for an easy steal, so what is easier than an unattended package on a door step?

Adamson suggests, “If you can have it delivered to work, do so. Or, try to have them sent to a friend’s house or a relative’s house. Just somebody that’s going to be home. Or, make it to where somebody has to sign for the package, so the package is verified that somebody is there for it.”

Adamson also says to be careful where you place your presents once wrapped.

He says, “Don’t put your gifts in plain view right in front the window where everybody can see. Don’t put your big expensive TV right in front of the window. If you’re not going to be home, let your neighbor know. Have somebody check on your house for you to make sure everything is okay.”

Unfortunately, your car isn’t safe from winter scrooges either.

The officer says, “We’ve had a couple of vehicles stolen when they were warming up. Folks don’t lock their cars. They go out, start them, warm them up, don’t lock them, and somebody comes along and takes them. So again, if you have to start your car, make sure you have an extra set of keys so you can lock your doors.”

Adamson says it would be ideal to keep your car attended while it is heating up.

But understandably, it is cold, so locking the vehicle is key.

He says if you’re out doing holiday shopping, to not count your money in public. Adamson suggests doing that in private.

If you are carrying items to your vehicle after purchasing them, be sure to walk in a well-lit area.

The officer also recommends storing valuable items out of sight, in a trunk, or under a jacket or other item.

Adamson says you can’t let your guard down at the gas station either.

Even if you plan on being inside for a short period of time, that’s all it could take for an unlocked vehicle to be stolen.

Adamson says a little extra attention can go a long way.

He says, “There are small steps we can take to help ourselves not be victims. And that’s what we want to provide everybody.”