“We’d rather be saying Merry Christmas than sorry you got Grinched,” says RCMP Cpl. Darryl Orr.
The Trail and Greater District police officer was speaking about a recent report of a shady character lurking around mailboxes in Warfield.
His out-of-place and questionable presence prompted an RCMP advisory to all locals – don’t let the mail pile up and do not leave parcels outside the front door for any length of time.
“We did go up and take a look around but he was already gone by the time we got there,” Orr said. “Nothing was stolen, but it was just the fact that he was creeping around, we felt we should send something out there and let people know.”
Police often get these types of calls from Trail, Rossland, and Fruitvale, especially during the holiday season.
“Traditionally we get them every year – typically we are called when someone is snooping around people’s houses or maybe packing a parcel away or opening a mailbox at the entrance of the driveway,” he added. “We don’t have any kind of trend in a particular area – it’s just a dart board kind of thing that crops up, but we always hear about it.”
Orr advises homeowners to be proactive when receiving anything from Canada Post.
“Mail and parcels should be secured as quickly after arrival as possible to prevent theft,” Orr said. “It’s a good opportunity for thieves this time of year, people start to get busy and say, ‘I’ll get the mail out of the box tomorrow, I have to get ready for my Christmas party.’”
Meanwhile, those with less-than-merry intentions are often watching.
“These guys have nothing to do but lurk around, steal and pillage, so they are crimes of opportunity, right?” he continued. “It’s not like it’s a rampant issue but it’s one of the issues that when you get burned by it, it really sticks,” Orr added. “Because nobody want to open their stocking on Christmas morning and find a big piece of coal, they’d like to get what was in the parcel they ordered.”
So now, more than ever, is a good time to chat with neighbours and keep an eye on each other homes.
“A lot of people are gone for three or four days and parcels and mail stack up,” Orr warned. “That’s when you see these guys start to cruise around, an empty house, no lights and a bunch of parcels at the front door – it’s a no brainer. So neighbours, keep an eye out for each other,” he added.
“It’s just keeping with the time of year, all the commercialization, gifts and present every gets so much stuff – there’s people willing to cross the line to get the stuff they either need or just want.”
Besides mail and packages gone missing, there’s another brazen theft that can happen to anyone during Christmas – front yard decorations and lights are stolen, there’s already been reports this season.
“We’ve had a couple (reports) typically it’s those new Christmas globes that project lights onto the houses,” Orr shared. “I remember one of our staff members had hers stolen right out of the front yard a few years ago.
“It’s not people climbing on roofs and taking down strings of lights,” he said. “It’s more if you have reindeer or something like that out, people can just quickly grab it and take off.”
Police encourage neighbourhoods to report any suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477 or to the Trail and Greater District RCMP at 250.364.2566.