Associated Press
Christmas packages delivered to a Yalecrest neighborhood home on Tuesday were stolen shortly after being delivered by UPS

SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas packages delivered to a Yalecrest neighborhood home on Tuesday were stolen shortly after being delivered by UPS — and a family member saw it all happen.

"I looked out the window and then I just see some lady with two huge boxes running down our driveway," said Taylor Lines, a niece of the Province family.

She was home sick from school when she heard the family dogs barking and alerting her that someone was on her front porch. "It took me a second to realize what was going on because your first thought is not going to be these people are trying to steal from me," Lines said.

She ran downstairs to tell her aunt Allie Province what was going on. “I was quite shocked and just kind of violated and I guess also sad that people would do that, especially in the holiday season. And it’s our children’s Christmas presents,” said Province.

The thief got into what Lines described as a beat-up turquoise car driven by a heavyset man. Province jumped in her car and went after them, but to no avail.

“It’s just irritating because you wouldn’t think that people would even think to do that and they do,” Lines said.

Unfortunately, there is little recourse for families in this situation. The Christmas packages arrived on the porch from UPS just 45 minutes before they were stolen. Province didn't have to sign for them, so she didn't know they were there.

She says UPS told her there was nothing the company could do for her. She filed a report with Salt Lake police and hopes the thieves will be caught.

Fortunately for the Province family, the Christmas gifts were replaced by the company she bought them through, but not every company will do that.

Police call this a crime of opportunity. They say thieves are often watching your valuables more closely than you are, even looking for people stashing bags in the backs of their cars.

“There tends to be a trend during holiday seasons where opportunity meets desire and criminals seize on that. If you have packages that are left on a porch, if you’re leaving packages in your car while shopping, that opportunity presents itself,” detective Josh Ashdown said.

Deliveries certainly offer that opportunity, police say. They advise people if they know they are having packages delivered to check the tracking number and know when the packages are arriving. If they can’t be home, either arrange for someone else to be, or request a signature confirmation.

Calls placed with UPS for comment on this story were not returned Wednesday.

“I never would have thought that would happen when we’re home,” Province said.  “Definitely be aware because if it’s happening to us in an area like this in the middle of the day, it can happen to anyone.”