Criminal gangs suspected to be shadowing couriers after spate of doorstep delivery thefts from online shoppers
19th October 2021
Criminal gangs are suspected to be shadowing couriers after a spate of so-called doorstep delivery thefts nationwide.
Gardaí urged people shopping over the Internet to take precautions if they are expecting the home delivery of valuable items as Ireland is set for record-breaking online spending in the run-up to Christmas.
Irish shoppers are set to spend an extra €1bn up to Christmas given savings built up over the six-month lockdown earlier this year.
One-in-three Irish shoppers admitted their Christmas spending between October and December will involve a mix of online and in-store purchases.
However, there has been a surge in the number of thefts involving online purchases delivered to homes where the occupant is away – with items varying from pre-pack furniture to tablets and smartphones left in parcels on the doorstep.
The Garda warning was issued after a spate of thefts in Dublin, Cork and Limerick over recent weeks involving online purchases which had been home delivered by couriers – but the items had been left on doorsteps or on porches after the residents were not at home.
In one case, Gardaí believe that a courier was followed by a spotter car which noted every property where a parcel had been left on the doorstep of a house with the occupants absent. A second vehicle operated by another gang member then drove around and stole the items from each property.
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in delivery drivers being given the choice of leaving packages in specific locations if the homeowner wasn’t present.
These could range from a doorstep to a porch or even an unlocked garden shed.
Gardaí have now urged homeowners to ensure safe delivery options are available for periods when they know they will not be home – including the option of delivery to a trusted neighbour.
“We would urge people to have a trusted delivery method confirmed with the online outlet or your delivery company for times when you know you may not be at home,” a garda spokesperson said.
“If you have a trusted neighbour who is around when you are not, perhaps consider having the item safely delivered to them.”
Gardaí admitted they fear the number and scale of such robberies will increase given the amount being spent online and during the build-up to Christmas.
Retail surveys have revealed one-in-three Irish shoppers expect to spend more this Christmas – particularly on high-value gifts and luxury branded items.
Such items are being particularly targeted by criminals because of their resale value.
Some 61pc of Irish shoppers are expected to begin their Christmas shopping in October because of ongoing supply-chain and Covid concerns.
Incredibly, 7pc of shoppers began their purchases as early as August.
The good news for Ireland’s ‘Shop Local’ campaign is that one-in-10 Irish consumers said they plan to spend more in shops than online over the course of the festive season – both to support local employment and local businesses.
However, the overall value of online spending is expected to soar by January 1.