CLEVELAND — Cleveland and Cleveland Heights police now report a total of five Amazon delivery trucks have been stolen in Northeast Ohio since Nov. 25.
Police say most recent stolen Amazon vehicle was recovered in the 2200 block of East 43rd Street by Cleveland police on Dec. 17.
Investigators told News 5 in some cases the vehicles are taken by thieves as the Amazon driver leaves the running truck to make a delivery.
Cleveland Heights Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg said that's exactly what happened in her city on Dec. 13, after thieves stole an Amazon vehicle during a delivery in the 3200 block of Berkshire Road.
"The driver was delivering a package, she had exited the truck and was putting it on the porch," Mecklenburg said. “A truck pulled up and one of the men got out and jumped in the Amazon truck and drove away. The truck had been left running with the keys in it. It is possible up to 200 packages, we believe, were in the truck at the time it was stolen. To me it’s just heartbreaking for all the people who had ordered. You know people were ordering online to be safe because they didn’t want to get sick, so many more people were ordering on-line and were looking forward to these packages and these gifts. It’s so close to Christmas, it really is sad, I feel horrible for the people who may not get these packages in time for the holidays.”
Mecklenburg said the Amazon driver was not hurt and said GPS tracking on-board the delivery truck helped speed-up the recovery effort.
“Unfortunately, there were no cameras on the truck, and at this time we couldn’t find any cameras in the immediate area where the truck was stolen,” Mecklenburg said. “It’s my understanding that it’s their policy to leave them running when they exit it to deliver a package. We have heard that with some of these trucks, drivers are being robbed by people with guns.”
News 5 contacted Amazon headquarters about the truck heist and asked if these cases have the company considering delivery protocol changes, or adding truck surveillance cameras to assist police make arrests. The company responded quickly and said the issues are extremely important to their organization and once they speak with police the company will issue a statement.
Meanwhile, Mecklenburg said the crooks will face felony theft charges when found.
Both Cleveland Heights and Cleveland police are asking anyone with information to please come forward.
“Because we’re not going to give up, our detectives are not going to give up, our officers are not going to give up," Mecklenburg said. “I got to believe that there is someone out there who knows who did this, I mean we’re talking 200 packages, and they ended up somewhere.”