TAMPA — Rather than deliver the packages, an Amazon driver was arrested for stealing them just before the holidays.
Ozcan Rodriguez Okur Junior kept approximately $890 in items and gift cards from Amazon packages he was supposed to deliver to customers between Oct. 24 and Nov. 27, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Rodriguez Okur, 22, stole up to $250 worth of gift cards and loaded them onto his personal Amazon account. The stolen items included a Ring camera, Apple AirPods and a Playstation game.
He would simply mark the items as “missing” during his delivery route, according to deputies.
But deputies traced the thefts to Rodriguez Okur and immediately canceled the value of the gift cards before he could use them.
Rodriguez Okur was arrested on Wednesday. He faces a charge of third-degree grand theft ($750-$5,000).
“We tell people all the time how to protect themselves from porch pirates, but it’s especially upsetting when the person responsible for delivering the package to your doorstep takes advantage of your trust and the trust of their company,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.
“We are thankful that all of the victims in this case were reimbursed by Amazon and that our deputies were able to take Rodriguez off of the streets before he could pull another Grinch-like move and steal from anyone else on Christmas.”
Deputies said Okur admitted to the thefts and has been cooperative in the process to recover the stolen items.
The Sheriff’s Office warns shoppers this holiday season to keep an electronic receipt for proof of purchase in order to get reimbursed in case of theft, track their deliveries closely online and check home surveillance cameras if packages do not arrive.
Amazon released a statement regarding the thefts.
“This does not reflect the high standards we have for our delivery service partners,” spokesman Timothy Carter said. "This individual is no longer delivering Amazon packages, and we have reached out to the customers to make this right.”