A homeowner's surveillance camera is recording from the front porch as the family waited for a package to be delivered. The effort pays off because the camera captures a suspect approaching the house. Another angle shows the man sitting on the ground to open the package, and then quickly leaving.
"Any package is fair game for them," warned U.S. Postal Inspector Ketty Larco. "They will take whatever they find and they will open it up at their own convenience. Some of them will open up the packages right there or around the corner will discard the items they are not interested in."
And the thieves don't necessarily hide under the the protection of darkness.
"These thieves will target these location in normal business areas when people are generally out of the house working when there is no one around," she said.
In fact, authorities say they have arrested groups of people who follow delivery trucks.
"They will actually go out in groups and follow the truck and go from block to block with the trucks and pretty much load their cars," explained Larco.
They will then go through the items and discard anything they can't resell.
Larco said, "They will pocket those expensive items they can resell on the street, either online or to other co-conspirators that are interested in buying stolen items."
Postal inspectors say these crimes can be prevented.
"We encourage customers to request for a signature service for their packages," said Larco. "We also recommend if they can, have their packages delivered to the place of employment or ask a relative or a neighbor to received packages on their behalf."
Also, if you're mailing someone a gift, like a card that has money in it, do not put it in an unsecured mailbox. To be safe, you can either take it to the post office or you can put it in a blue secure U.S. Postal Service collection box.
Inspectors say the suspects involved with this case were charged with mail fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and attempted extortion. They are awaiting sentencing.