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Denton police remind residents to safeguard delivered packages during holidays

A man wearing thick glasses and backwards hat casually walked up to a home in the 1400 block of Bayfield Street in Denton at about 3 a.m. Nov. 28. 

He approached the doorstep, grabbed the resident's unattended package and walked away under flickering Christmas lights. 

The 28-year-old resident didn't realize his package was missing at the time. Luckily, a doorbell video captured the theft, including a sliver of the suspect's face. 

The resident reported the theft on Monday, Dec. 4, but the suspect remains at large. 

This case is one of at least four reported package thefts in Denton since Nov. 28. It's a relatively common problem during the holidays, and Denton police are reminding residents of both common-sense and high-tech solutions to safeguard unattended gifts.  

"Leaving $500 worth of purchases on your doormat is not much different than leaving $500 in cash there," Denton police spokesman Bryan Cose said. "Reality tells us that eventually someone is likely going to try and steal it."

Aside from having packages delivered to a place of work, people can also ensure their packages' safety by using self-service parcel lockers. FedEx has a locker at the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center at 2430 S. Interstate 35E. 

There's no added cost to use the FedEx lockers, according to the delivery service's website. And people can have their packages redirected to a locker through the FedEx delivery manager.

United Parcel Service (UPS) also has at least one self-service locker available locally at the 7-Eleven at 915 Fort Worth Drive. Both delivery services keep the lockers available 24 hours a day, according to their websites. 

Amazon also offers lockers in Denton County, including one in Flower Mound. 

Requiring a signature upon delivery and asking for a neighbor's help are other easy security measures. 

"There are new, high-tech ways of protecting packages such as video doorbells, easy-to-install security cameras and even a WiFi-enabled device that will alert you when a package is placed on it or send an alarm if someone removes the package," Cose said. 

The WiFi-enabled device is a relatively new product called Package Guard. It's shaped like a Frisbee and sends real-time updates to the owner's smartphone. 

The victim of the Nov. 28 theft used a Ring Video Doorbell, which officers multiple products that double as a doorbell and security camera. 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882. 

FEATURED PHOTO: Roughly 35 percent of Americans say they have packages sent to an address other than their home to prevent theft, according to a survey by Shorr Packaging. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)