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Editorial: Keep Grinch away

The Grinch is apparently live and well as the holidays approach, and people sending or receiving gifts should take some extra precautions to ensure their packages don't end up in some criminal's hands.
Last week the Carroll County Sheriff's Office warned residents that someone was stealing mail from mailboxes. Most of the 10 or so recent reports came from the Finksburg and Eldersburg areas, it said, but others across the state have been victimized in different ways.
ABC News 7 reported last week about a Columbia man who had a package stolen from his front porch just minutes after it was delivered by UPS. It was one of several recent reports in which police say criminals apparently are following the trucks from various delivery services and helping themselves to packages left on doorsteps.
Similarly, WBAL-TV reported that Anne Arundel County police were looking for a thief who was caught on surveillance video taking packages from a resident's doorstep.
To minimize the chance of your packages being stolen, consider having the gifts you order from online stores insured or making sure that someone has to sign for the delivery. Some people find it better to have packages delivered to their work address, if the employer allows that, in order to ensure that they are received.
Likewise, if you are sending a gift to someone, make sure that you are able to track it and, if possible, send it in a manner that requires the recipient to sign for it.
For mail, the U.S. Postal Service recommends that you get your mail from your mailbox as soon as possible after delivery.
The thefts from mailboxes in Carroll were occurring on outgoing mail, before the carrier had picked it up. If you are sending holiday gifts, it might be a better idea to drop them off at the post office or in one of the post office's boxes.
The sheriff's office says the recent thefts involved people looking for checks, which they would alter and attempt to cash. Make sure that you are closely monitoring your bank account and that the checks you write are getting to the intended recipients.
By taking some additional precautions, we can reduce the chance that the Grinch pays us a visit and makes off with our packages.

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