Thefts and even fire can thwart holiday package delivery

Millions of packages are successfully sent and received at this time of year, but a couple of recent events in the Washington area illustrate the hazards that can occasionally disrupt the process.

In one of the most dramatic of such events, a fire broke out Saturday in a truck inside a UPS facility in Prince George’s County. The blaze occurred in a building in the 8400 block of Ardwick Ardmore Road in the Landover area, said county fire department spokesman Mark E. Brady.

Contrails from jet planes passing overhead intersect the National Museum of Art in Washington, Thursday morning, April 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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He said the fire damage was limited to the delivery truck, but the truck had packages on board. It was not immediately clear how many of them were damaged and how severely.

Damage was estimated at about $20,000, Brady said.

The cause of the fire in the huge facility was under investigation, he said. Brady said sprinklers in the facility were activated, which minimized the damage.

Meanwhile, in the District, police responsible for the Capitol Hill area reminded residents that the theft of packages from doorsteps has risen in past years during the holiday season.

Underscoring this observation, police in that area reported that three people had been arrested in the past 10 days in connection with three separate instances of package theft.

The first of the incidents occurred Nov. 29, when a 19-year-old man was arrested in connection with the theft of a package from the 200 block of 11th Street SE.

On the next day, police said, a 50-year-old suspect was arrested in connection with the theft of a package from the 600 block of A Street SE.

On Thursday, police said, a 25-year-old man was arrested in the theft of a package from the 1200 block of Independence Avenue SE.

Police said information provided by watchful residents of the area helped lead to at least one of the arrests.

Not every stolen package leads to an arrest. In another Thursday incident, police said, a Capitol Hill resident reported that a package was taken from the front of his house. After receiving the report, the package and its contents were found by officers, police said.

Police throughout the Washington area have advised residents who do not expect to be home during delivery hours to have packages sent to their offices or the residences of friends who can accept them.

 
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