Video Shows Parcel Grinch Stealing Holiday Cheer in Bernal Heights


As Neighbor Eric just learned first-hand, Grinch Season is upon us.

Grinches, in this case, are opportunistic thieves who steal parcel deliveries containing Holiday gifts.  It’s already happening this year, much as it happened last year. Neighbor Eric tells his seasonally sad tale:

I wanted to send you a clip of a package thief on the job today in our neighborhood. This video was taken from a Dropcam at our house on Prentiss Street, near Jarboe Avenue, [on Nov. 18] at 3:15 pm. A very ballsy move, as there was lots of sidewalk traffic — including people a minute or so on each side of this pilfering.

Today’s loss was no big deal. In fact, I would pay money to be around when he opens the two packages containing various sets of cocktail napkins with anchors, poppies, and a classic Moroccan tile pattern. I’m sure the reaction was pure comedy as he discovered the fruits of his labors. Hopefully he’ll have a nice cocktail party. He’ll have to supply the spanakopita and the mini quiches, but the napkins are on me.

Anyway, as the package season ramps up it might be nice to remind all of our lovely neighbors of the baddies roaming the streets. We’ve been pushing our luck lately, and literally had thousands of dollars of packages left on our doorstep recently. I guess we got off easy with today’s reminder.

So let this be your reminder too: If possible, consider having your seasonal parcels delivered to your workplace, rather than to your home. Because this guy is out on parole:


GRINCH IMAGE: via, with Bernal accents

23 thoughts on “Video Shows Parcel Grinch Stealing Holiday Cheer in Bernal Heights

  1. yep, I got the Grinch at my door this week too! Ended up finding my package opened next street down! Apparently, the Grinch did not like the content of it! Elise

    • I looked around on the sidewalks around our house to see if he jettisoned the loot from our doorstep, but I couldn’t find it. Judging by the flare on his pants, I think he’ll really enjoy the cocktail napkins he swiped.

  2. I had one on Lundys this week as well..right about same time, I was away traveling and it got snagged during the day.

  3. Aw, man, I thought we were finally rid of the one prolific package thief around here. This is why I still keep a PO box for deliveries.

    Maybe the SFPD needs to occasionally run a bait package setup, like with bait bikes.

      • Not death. I vote for nuisance. Maybe an air horn that has randomly intermittent and loud bursts upon package opening, along with a “Track My iPhone” GPS feature so I can retrieve it and use again. Come on, Kickstarter!

    • On that note, somebody stole my new “volunteer shoes” off my front porch. Hope they enjoy the lasting “benefits” of those brand new Brooks, as I volunteer in the SPCA ringworm ward!!!!!

  4. Wow, sorry to hear about all of these package disappearances. I feel lucky to have a less visible porch for packages to be dropped off, but it is definitely not thief proof.

    Not a shill for the company, but just yesterday I read about a company called Doorman. ( Pretty neat service, they compile your packages at their facility and then deliver them to you when you’re ready for them via a snazzy looking app.

    • The problem with Doorman is that I have looked everywhere on their website and can’t find their price! And the contract says that they reserve the right to change the price after 60 days and that the customer agrees to pay it! Also, you have to provide a credit card number. Typical dot-commer.

      CONTRAST THIS with Copy Central Mission, where you pay for mail service by cash, check, or money order by the month or the quarter or the year. It’s no more than $15 a month and less if you subscribe by the year. And you can get any kind of mail and parcels there, and they’ll hold for as long as need be. PLUS, they’re LOCAL BERNAL FOLKS!

      • Huh? Doorman has their pricing right on the front page of their website, and on several other pages. Also, I’m trying to figure out how to pay for the service without providing them a credit card? Lastly, just like any other place who has the right to change their prices at any time, if you don’t like the new price let them know by taking your business elsewhere.

        While I am all for supporting the LOCAL BERNAL FOLKS at Copy Central Mission, their hours don’t work with my hours. If I can’t support them, I guess the next best thing will be to support the local San Francisco Folks at Doorman.

      • Oops! The pricing is indeed on their front page, but it’s so low that I just didn’t scroll down to it. $20 a month for unlimited package delivery: they can’t make a profit on that, so I expect that the price would go way up after the initial trial period.

  5. Getting lots of regular mail stolen on Coso as well. Many of our bills have gone missing and I have found and returned discarded stolen mail found on the Coso/Precita steps

  6. Ugh! Sorry that happened. I had a package delivered to my mom’s house in the Haight — apparently it was left on the Porch on Tuesday (same day as your situation), but nope…not there. I have learned my lesson and am going to figure out alternatives.

  7. We had a thief run up to our porch, quickly grab two packages and then drop into an accomplice’s truck. The haul? Two 40lb bags of cat litter! Would have loved to see the expression on their faces after the unwrapping.

  8. This is nuts. I’m glad it was just napkins and not something more important like a nice holiday tie.

  9. Some years back when this kind of stealing was very big in NYC, people began wrapping up their garbage, such as coffee grounds, egg shells, and various food trash. After it was on TV and many people began doing this the package thefts went down dramatically.

    The package theft thing can be averted by having your parcels delivered by the Postal Service. The mail carrier requires signing for packages, unlike FedEx and UPS whose motto is “Throw it anywhere if you can’t put it in plain sight.”

    If people expect to get lots of packages, a good way to do this is to subscribe to a mailbox rental service such as the one at Copy Central Mission on Mission and Powers. They’ll accept your packages and they’re open until 6pm and on Saturdays until 4pm.

    • I’m not sure about the quality of your USPS delivery, but mine is horrible. I actually saw my postal worker KICKING a box down some stairs because he was too lazy to carry it. When it comes to signing up for someplace like Copy Central, that still requires you to go and get it. If you’re going to bother to go and pick up your packages, why not zip down to the FedEx off Bayshore or the UPS in Potrero? They’re easy to get to and don’t require you to pay a monthly fee

      • My USPS delivery has been fine. After UPS left a package in plain sight on top of my trash can I decided I would no longer do business with any company that won’t allow me to use USPS delivery. I’ve had no problems with USPS.

    • We’ve lived on SVN for years, and our UPS driver has never left a package — only a door tag. This seems like the default. I’m surprised to see that one of them actually left things on peoples’ doorsteps.

  10. Yep- I lost two packages this week on Bessie street. What a bummer! I’d love to share package receiving-duties with neighbors, but I’d feel like it wasn’t quite fair since I get so many packages 😉

  11. Have your packages delivered by the Postal Service, not by UPS or FedEx. Stealing a package delivered through the mail is a federal crime. And the Postal Service requires signatures; UPS and FedEx just leave them any old place.

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