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Beware the porch pirates

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Holiday shopping season is upon us and your (not-so) friendly neighborhood porch pirates are gearing up to pilfer the holiday treasures being delivered to your doorstep.

We’ve all seen the familiar footage from a home security camera: a fish-eye view of a home’s front porch sporting a stack of smiling Amazon Prime boxes. An unexpected car pulls up. A stranger approaches the cardboard booty. He or she looks to the left, looks to the right, scoops up the bounty and runs back to the car, ruining the holidays for those in the home.

The holiday season can be stressful enough with arranging travel or hosting overnight guests; baking; cleaning; shopping and wrapping gifts. You don’t need the extra burden of crooks stealing your joy and peace of mind.

Here are some ways you can conquer the porch pirates and lay claim to the best holiday ever.

Have your packages delivered elsewhere

If you have the luxury of being able to have your packages delivered to your office, this is one of the best options. As a bonus, you can easily hide the gifts from your family.

If this isn’t an option, have your orders shipped to a neighbor or family member who is home during the day.

FedEx packages can be picked up at one of their offices or a local participating Walgreens location.

UPS packages can be received at a local UPS Store, CVS or Michael’s stores or you can arrange to have them delivered on a day when you are home.

Let the delivery person in

Most respondents to a recent PC Magazine survey of 1,500 people said they are willing to spend an average of $110.86 on home protection gadgets. A total of 28 percent said they have a security camera, 25 percent have a video doorbell, and 17 percent have a smart lock.

Smart locks allow you to unlock your door from your smartphone or computer. Video allows you to see who is at your door. You can instruct delivery people on where to drop the packages and then lock up after they leave.

Smart locks range in price from $100-$300, which is worth it to keep your family safe and happy.

Have packages delivered to your car

Key by Amazon allows Amazon Prime members to have their packages left in their home, garage or even their cars.

Download the app to have your items shipped to your car within hours. Check the app or website to see if your product, vehicle and address of the vehicle are eligible for delivery. Pick a delivery time, and you’re set. You will receive notification of when your package is out for delivery and when the driver is en route.

According to the Amazon website, “Key In-Car Delivery is available with select makes and models. It is available with model year 2015 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Volvo vehicles and requires an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar and On Call.”

Key In-Car Delivery is available on tens of millions of Amazon items and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping. They cannot deliver heavy or bulky items weighing more than 50 pounds.

Track your packages

If high-tech gadgets aren’t your thing, simply use your low-tech skills to track your packages. UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon and FedEx all offer tracking online.

Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to automatically get a daily email containing scans of the mail being delivered and tracking numbers of expected packages.

UPS offers the My Choice program. and FedEx’s Delivery Manager also helps keep track of deliveries.

Tracking information for Amazon and many other online retailers’ shipments can be found in your order details.

Your special deliveries are at risk, and the porch pirates are sure to be marking their spots of opportunity this holiday season. Use these tips from Mutual Credit Union, and ensure your gifts are received by those you intend.

This story originally appeared on the Mutual Credit Union blog and is being reprinted here with permission.

 

Crime

High speed chase ends in fiery crash

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(photo by David Day)

A high-speed chase Saturday evening that began near the Waffle House in Vicksburg has ended in a crash in Claiborne County and a vehicle in flames.

First reports indicate the incident began around 5:10 p.m. as an argument at the Waffle House at 4100 Pemberton Square Blvd. A man and woman left the scene and stopped at a Shell gas station on U.S. Highway 61 South where the man pulled the woman, who is pregnant, out of the vehicle by her hair.

The man, Bojara O’Quinn of Claiborne County, then fled, leading Vicksburg police officer Michael Battle on a high-speed chase south on 61 South. The chase exceeded 110 mph at times.

The chase ended just inside the Claiborne County line on Shiloh Road in a crash where the vehicle, reportedly a rental with Illinois plates, burst into flames. The crash occurred right at 5:30 p.m.

O’Quinn is in custody and received minor injuries in the crash. The woman involved received very minor injuries and is apparently safe.

Deputies with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department, and troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol assisted in O’Quinn’s capture.

Bojara O’Quinn (photo by David Day)

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Crime

Woman in custody for Friday’s shooting over a parking space

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UPDATE: Akeyah Daniels, 26, of Vicksburg, appeared before Judge Penny Lawson on Saturday in Vicksburg Municipal Court. Lawson set her bond at $50,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

Original story:

The woman is in custody in connection with a shooting that occurred Friday, allegedly over a parking space.

The shooting took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment building at 2230 Grove St. in Vicksburg.

Akeyah Daniels, 26, turned herself in to Vicksburg police officers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. She was arrested at the police station.

Three men were also briefly detained and released in connection with the shooting, according to the Vicksburg police.

Daniels faces one count of drive-by shooting is being held without bond until her initial appearance, which is taking place Saturday.

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Crime

Governor’s sign-language interpreter arrested

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(Photo source: WAPT)

Gregory Goldman, 52, was arrested Sunday in Madison County for aggravated domestic violence, WAPT reports.

Goldman, who frequently provides sign language interpretation for Gov. Tate Reeves during his news conferences, has also signed for Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. during major press events.

Goldman is employed by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services.

There are few details available about the allegations that led to his arrest. Goldman was released on $1,000 bond Monday.

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