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Authorities: Thieves may strike when seeing holiday gift wrapping

By MATT DELLINGER

The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.  — The holiday season can create a lot of things – memories, laughter, bonding and entertainment are some of the wonderful byproducts of Christmas.

Unfortunately, waste products from the gift giving season may present unintended side effects, including serving as a billboard for would-be burglars.

“The best suggestion is to break down your boxes and turn them inside out,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty. “It’s so people don’t see you got a brand new TV or something.

Leaving behind boxes expensive items came in may advertise the presence of valuables to steal.

“If you leave the box in plain sight, someone might think, ‘Hey, I can get a nice TV,’” Dougherty said. “You can recycle that material, get it to waste management and there are places that will take old cardboard.”

The sheriff said he hasn’t heard of anyone doing it, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

“I haven’t seen anyone who’s specifically done that,” Dougherty said. “But leaving a large quantity of big boxes around, it gives people the understanding that they can get brand new equipment. I think one of the smartest things we’ve seen is, people breaking them (boxes) down and turning them inside out. A lot of people will take the big box and stuff things down inside there.”

Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster said it wasn’t a bad idea.

“People may want to tear the box up and put it in the garbage that way,” Lemaster said. “A lot of times, the garbage men would prefer them to be torn down.”

As always, recycling is never a bad decision.

“Recycling is a good thing too,” Lemaster said. “People can come out to the recycle center on Grapevine Road. Honestly, we haven’t had many burglaries this year, but we’ve had a trend in the past.”

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