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Risk of package theft goes up as holidays approach

Risk of package theft goes up as holidays approach

Criminals looking to ruin your holiday season are out and about in force, and they are targeting your mail.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office said with Christmas a week away, they are beginning to see an uptick in annual calls about postal thefts.

Elizabeth McNair found that out when her son opened their mailbox and got a letter, a Christmas gift, with an Amazon gift card that had already been opened.

"I called the Navarre Post Office and let them know what happened and the gentleman there gave me a website to go to file a complaint online, so that's what I did," McNair said.

Her son checked out the gift card, it had already been redeemed by whoever took it out of the letter.

"It would be nice if the person gets caught. I mean, it's not really about the money, but it's just the principle of somebody taking something that doesn't belong to them," McNair said.

Opening someone else's mail is a federal offense.

Anyone who tampers with mail while it's in the postal service's custody faces felony charges, but once it's out of the mailbox, local law enforcement gets involved.

"Generally, this time of year, we do hear about more of it, because it's happening. We hear all kinds of stories," Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rich Aloy said.

He said gadgets like cameras focused on your porch and mailbox can deter crime, but the best protection is vigilant neighbors.

"This time of year, it's too much of an incentive if your package is out to have folks come around and steal them from your front porch, and we highly encourage folks to just be aware and take care of each other," Sgt. Aloy said.

In the meantime, the McNairs will be changing how they send and receive some presents in the future.

"I definitely think emailing a gift card is probably a better solution, just because something like this wouldn't happen and you are guaranteed to get it," McNair said.

A silver lining to this story, Amazon refunded Elizabeth's son his $50 gift card.

Channel 3 asked the postmaster of the Navarre Post Office for a comment, they said they could not speak with us without prior approval.

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