Local officials warning of package theft as holiday shopping nears

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As early Black Friday deals roll out online, holiday shopping is right at our finger tips. But crimes of opportunity aren't limited to the Grinch.

Despite several security measures in place for this Amazon Hub at the new Chevron in the Tower District, this broken locker screen shows an attempted break-in earlier this week.

"I'm seeing them for the first time in the district on the exterior of gas stations, which tend to attract the homeless and crimes that occur when you only have one cashier inside of a gas station," says Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias.

The owners of the service station didn't want to speak on camera but say they've filed a complaint and nothing was stolen. Arias says this is something he wants to get in front of.

"This is the first time we've seen Amazon boxes and the first time we've seen them vandalized," Arias said. "So I think from now on, we're going to be playing closer attention as a council to what gas stations and businesses and retailers are putting in the exteriors of their buildings."

In Thursday's council meeting, a Jonnie quick service station planned for Barstow and Grantland was the first to learn that as their conditional use permit had a stipulation and that they could only host an Amazon hub if it's on the interior of the business..

"We need to make sure someone is on top of those and they don't become a nuisance that code enforcement has to respond to," Arias said.

Amazon's website offers the locker as a "secure, self-service" option for receiving packages.

On Friday, they released the following statement on the security measures in place for their program:

"We take the safety of our customers and the communities in which we operate in very seriously. We're looking into this matter and are committed to working with the City of Fresno to address these concerns."
Fresno Police Sgt. Robert Dewey says they haven't seen an increase in package theft.

"Right now, it's pretty steady," he said. "We have a few per week but they're random."

However, now "tis the season," so he suggests investing in security tech, like a doorbell camera.

"If we have any video evidence at all, we do our best to jump on it," he said. "If we can identify a suspect, we do."

Most big box stores allow you to schedule your delivery but there are other options as well.

"Be aware of what you're having delivered," Dewey said. "Get to know your neighbors and if you're not going to be home, see if someone can pick up the package for you."
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