Undelivered Amazon packages found inside Ponte Vedra dumpster

Amazon says 3rd-party delivery driver suspended pending investigation

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

As St. Johns County deputies investigate the discovery of multiple pieces of Amazon merchandise that were never delivered to customers in Orange Park, the online retail giant confirmed to News4Jax on Wednesday that a third-party delivery driver has been suspended. 

The owner of a construction company found the merchandise, along with empty Amazon boxes and packages, inside a dumpster at one of his construction sites. 

Homebuilder Vance Prestwood told News4Jax that he made the unusual discovery inside the construction dumpster when he arrived Saturday at the job site in South Ponte Vedra Beach to do an inspection. 

"I noticed a pile of Amazon packages. So I said, 'I’ll pick them out and find out who it is,' and say, 'Hey guys, don’t throw that in the dumpster because I get charged extra.' When I started picking them up, they had items in them,'" Prestwood recounted Tuesday. "I pulled out the first one. It had a few things in there. I pulled out a second one and it had a different address, then I called the Sheriff’s Office because obviously someone has stolen something."

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, there were 17 Amazon packages that were supposed to be delivered to a dozen customers living on Pebble Brook Circle, Laurel Leaf Drive, Laurel Mill Drive and Skipping Stone Way in Orange Park. The Sheriff's Office said everything from wetsuit boots to chemistry supplies to iPhone and GoPro accessories was either found intact or stolen from their boxes. All the packages were traced back to this Amazon Distribution Center in Jacksonville, where there is an internal investigation into what happened. 

A deputy who wrote in an incident report that a delivery driver might be responsible for missing packages.

Orange Park resident Diane Henkel, a grandmother of an Amazon customer whose two purchases were located in the dumpster, said the investigating deputy told her and her grandson that he didn’t think this was the work of porch pirates.

"They definitely did mention that it was the driver who dumped the packages, sorted through them so that he could pick and choose what he wanted," Henkel said. "It's disturbing to know someone would do something like that." 

Amazon customer Samatha Stegman was also waiting for a replacement engagement ring to arrive.

"I’m upset. I ordered the ring and it was supposed to be here but never showed up. The tracker kept saying it was nine stops away," she said. "We ordered our stuff. We paid for our stuff. Why take something that does not belong to you?"

An Amazon corporate spokesman told News4Jax by phone on Tuesday that the company is taking this matter very seriously and values its customers. He then released the following statement:

This does not reflect the standards we have for delivery service partners. We are working with law enforcement to investigate and will work with customers directly to make things right.”

The next day, the spokesman confirmed to News4Jx that a third-party driver has been suspended pending an investigation. 

Amazon is working with customers to make sure they still receive their purchases. 

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