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How to keep your home and family safe from Christmas gift thieves

Safety and holiday gift return tips
Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-26 19:20:30-05

PAPILLION, Neb. — With Christmas behind us and empty present boxes in front of our homes with our trash, thieves use this opportunity as free advertisement of all the new things they can steal from your home. It may be something you just don't want to deal with, but disposing of empty boxes properly can save your home and family from eager thieves.

Along with many other people, Papillion resident Sarah Cooper doesn't want to deal with all those empty Christmas boxes.

"My first though is just I want to get it out of the house. I don't want any of the clutter around, I don't want any of it. So my first thought is I just want to get it out and so it's ready to be taken and gone," Cooper said.

But leaving them out with the rest of the trash can be dangerous.

"It's pretty much just advertising to the basic criminal that's out there. Hey look what I bought, and you kind of set yourself up for a potential burglary on your residence," La Vista Police Officer Nick Boswell said.

Law enforcement recommend removing your address off of boxes and then breaking them down so that your home doesn't become a target.

When making returns on the gifts that just didn't work out, make sure the items are not visible in your vehicle.

"Don't leave anything exposed that you can tell what's inside your vehicle, obviously making sure that your vehicle is locked but again don't try to leave anything that's out in the open," Officer Boswell said.

Cooper is choosing to opt out of long return lines for now.

"I like to wait to be honest with you just because I want to get away from the hustle and bustle of it," she said.

But if you need to make returns now, the Better Business Beureu has some tips:

-Familiarize yourself with store policies

-Bring your ID

-Understand there may be lines and a wait

-Make sure you have your receipt

This is a time of year when burglaries become increasingly more common. Protect your home, your car and your family so that Christmas spirit isn't cut short.