A video has surfaced showing a man allegedly thieving groceries left for a frontline worker.
In the video posted Tuesday, City of Toronto recycling and compost bins are visible. The short clip, posted on the 6ix.canada.tv Instagram account, shows a man wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and beige hat, hanging around just below a CCTV camera. He is seen holding a book. He then is shown bending down and scampering down the flight of stairs with a box and walking away.
A photo attached to the post shows a note that says, “To the thief that stole my grocery delivery: I am a frontline worker and need to eat. Please wait until after the pandemic to steal.”
It’s unclear when the alleged theft took place, or where. Toronto Police say they cannot look up information in their database unless they have the complainant’s name or the address where the incident took place.
While Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray said the service can’t provide number of porch thefts because “it would require a very thorough review of each individual theft occurrence,” Waterloo Regional Police said Kitchener-Waterloo has seen a 200% increase of porch thefts.
According to CTV, there have been 18 reports of parcel snatchings since March 17, versus six in the same timeframe in 2019 and five in 2018.
A man in that area caught a thief — also known as a “porch pirate” — red-handed. On April 11, his CCTV camera caught two people taking his Amazon package, while he watched from his smartphone. As the thief was walking away, he used his speaker system.
“I panicked and didn’t know what to do so I hit the microphone and started yelling at them ‘put it back.’ To my surprise they came back and dropped it on the porch,” he told CTV.
On April 13, an elderly woman in Perth, Ont. had $140 of cash stolen as it was taped to her door to pay for a grocery delivery. The envelope of cash was found a week later and returned to the owner.
Some people in the Caremongering Facebook group have volunteered to babysit groceries deliveries.
“Anyone in mid-town or downtown Toronto, who needs assistance with grocery ‘minding,’ please PM me and I’ll accept your delivery and bring it to you,” offered one person.
Toronto Police’s crime prevention unit suggests arranging to have Canada Post deliver parcels to the nearest post office instead, or being at home when you know your package might arrive. If you’re not going to be home, have the parcel delivered to a neighbour or family member, while still adhering to physical distancing rules.
If you are the frontline worker in this story, please reach out to reporter Jenny Yuen at firstname.lastname@example.org.