COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ryan Vinson lives in a townhome near Upper Arlington. Most days, he works remotely from there, just like he did on September 28.

“I remember talking to my mailman earlier that day,” said Vinson. “And he asked me, as always, ‘Hey, are you going to be home?’ I said, ‘Yea, why?’ He says, ‘You’ve got another package coming in today.’ I said, ‘Alright, I will be home. Thanks!'”

Vinson returned to work for a bit, until it was time to take his dog for a walk. As Vinson was fastening the leash, he said he got a notification on his phone from his doorbell camera, motion near his doorstep.

“And I see somebody walked right up to my door, as if they lived there, grabbed the package and walked away,” said Vinson.

Vinson said he immediately ran outside and around the block, but didn’t see anyone. He called police, filed a report, even posted the video on Nextdoor. So far, no one has been able to track that person down.

Better Call 4 asked Vinson why it matters so much to him.

“Every day, I get a notification about what piece of mail I’m getting, what package I’m getting from USPS. And I look it up, and I see it’s coming from a place in Virginia. I know my fiancé’s best friend lives there,” said Vinson. “I text her and ask her, ‘Hey, what did you just mail here?’ And she says, ‘That’s your fiancé’s maid of honor gift.'”

Vinson said he was heartbroken, and doesn’t want to see this happen to anyone else, especially as we enter into the holiday shopping and shipping season.

“It’s a prime opportunity to have your package stolen,” said Vinson.

With that in mind, Consumer Reports offers some advice to make sure you get your goods and keep porch pirates at bay, whether you’re sending or receiving.

  • Give the delivery service special instructions:
  • USPS, FedEx and UPS all allow you to instruct drivers to leave a package at a specific location, or have it diverted to a different address.
  • Keep tabs on your packages by signing up for alerts:
  • Through text, email, or mobile app alerts, so you know when a delivery will be made and can adjust your schedule accordingly.
  • And require a signature:
  • This way, packages aren’t simply dropped off outside your house. You have to be home and available to receive them.

Some other things to keep in mind if you’re ordering or sending gifts:

  • Deadlines for ground shipping will be here before you know it.
    • FedEx is December 14 
    • USPS is December 17
    • UPS can vary. The website asks that you input information to calculate time and cost.

Again, these are the latest dates you can ship a package with a carrier and have your shipment get to its destination in time for the holiday.