SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- It's a case of the thieves that stole Christmas!
Imagine waiting for your Christmas present to ship to your door waiting days until it's finally delivered, only to find it stolen right off your porch.
That's exactly what's happening to several victims of porch pirating in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara resident Anne Fortuna was looking forward to her sister's present from Michigan. It was a couple of framed family picture for Anne and her father.
She got an email from UPS saying her package was delivered right on time.
"I came home about three hours after the package had been delivered and it was supposed to be on the front porch," says Fortuna.
But when she got home, the package was gone.
"Thereafter, a man came to the front door, with a box he found in his front yard," says Fortuna. "And it was just strewn all over the place with the Styrofoam peanuts but no contents."
She's not the only one. Thieves hit up homes on the 1400 and 1500 block of Valerio Street and 600 block of De La Guerra.
"As soon as the UPS truck gets out of sight then they go up to the residence," says Fortuna. "And they take the package and just leave."
The U.S. Postal Service estimates $16.5 billion dollars in merchandise will be shipped in the month before Christmas and many of those packages will sit on porches for several hours, even days.
"We always recommend you get a signature and if your neighbor is going to be home, perhaps you could have them receive the package for you," says Santa Barbara UPS Store Manager Linda Malhotra. "You can have it delivered to a local UPS store and we would be able to sign for it and you'd know you'd get it safely."
Santa Barbara Police warn residents to report suspicious activity and if you are expecting a package to use tracking services and retrieve the package as soon as possible after delivery.
Something Anne says she'll have to do from now on.
"It could've been a child's toy or something that they had really been expecting," says Fortuna. "This is replaceable but it had more of a sentimental value."
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