BALTIMORE — A driver for FedEx said the company is increasing security protocols following several WMAR-2 News reports on missing packages.
He asked to keep his identity anonymous over concerns that coming forward would jeopardize his job.
The driver said several weeks ago security cameras were installed onto delivery vehicles.
“So they are keeping an eye on us,” he said.
He believes the enhanced security measure is in response to WMAR-2 News reports on missing packages including a December report on PlayStation 5s that weren't delivered.
“My tracking on FedEx, it said it got on a truck it just never showed up,” Nathaniel Cook told WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii.
Immediately following the report, Sofastaii received additional complaints of packages that were missing, extremely delayed, or empty.
“And this came. Nothing in it! The exact same box,” said Kevin Keier who received an empty box instead of the iPhone he ordered.
Stephanie David has had issues with three packages in the last year.
“Two days before Christmas, I was going to wrap the present and open up the box and the box was completely empty,” said David who had purchased an Apple Watch for her daughter.
It’s unclear when the items went missing, however, tracking information shows the packages were last at the FedEx Ground Sparrows Point Facility.
In all, Sofastaii has received more than 30 reports of missing merchandise including 12 PlayStation 5s, an Xbox, other electronics, clothes collectibles, and a handgun. Tracking information confirms these items passed through the Sparrows Point facility but customers claim they weren't delivered.
In a statement to WMAR-2 News, a FedEx spokesperson wrote:
“FedEx Ground does not tolerate illegal activity of any kind within its network. We take these concerns seriously and will investigate as appropriate.”
“Let’s address just the first thing – the stolen packages. First of all, I believe it. I believe it’s happening,” the driver said.
He’s seen a worker attempt it before.
“You’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll know certain packages what they are, so he knew this was a laptop. It was supposed to go in a different truck, but he grabbed it and put it in his truck. The surveillance cameras caught him. He’s not working for us anymore. The police were involved,” said the driver.
He added that security at the facility would make it difficult for package handlers to steal items.
“You go through a metal detector, there’s security there,” he said. “If you have a bag with food in it or anything, it has to be clear plastic. They have to check it so I will say security there is actually rather thorough.”
However, he knows of ways around it.
“The other way to get in is through the truck that’s pretty much the only way someone could steal a PS5 or an iPhone or an Xbox or whatever else it is, it has to go through someone’s truck,” he said. “So what’ll happen is the driver will go out with the package and drop it off somewhere and say, oh, well it never made it on my truck.”
But with the recent addition of cameras, he believes theft reports will decline.
“As I mentioned, the only way you can actually steal a package is if you take it out in your truck yourself. You can’t just hide a PS5 in your hoodie on the way out. And like I said, security, people coming in, people coming out, they’re very thorough and with the security cameras they will keep an eye on you to make sure you’re not stealing anything, so that issue I do believe is being addressed but it was only because so many people sent in complaints, so many people contacted your news station. When word gets out, it’s not good PR for FedEx. They actually have to do something about it. But if they’re not pressured into doing so, there’s a good chance they just won’t do it,” he said.
A major issue he believes still. hasn't been addressed is the lack of training.
“Because they pretty much streamlined the process of bringing people in they don’t properly train people,” he said.
To meet the huge demand in online orders during the pandemic, FedEx staffed up. The driver said packages aren’t loaded onto the right trucks or organized properly and it’s leading to inefficiencies, delays, and confusion.
“I honestly believe a lot of these package handlers are not being properly trained and it’s not that hard to train someone. It’s this goes here, this goes here, it’s basic numbers,” he said. “They just needed more people in a short amount of time.”
He feels management has been less willing to listen to his concerns due to their business model. FedEx Ground uses contractors and subcontractors to deliver packages. He's technically not a FedEx employee.
“It’s gotten to the point where this is the only way we can get through to them,” he said. “FedEx corporate needs to know about this because they will come in, this actually happened before. They showed up and suddenly we’re running like a well-oiled machine.”
“You’re looking for that reset again?” asked Sofastaii.
“Yes, complete reset because I don’t wish any particular ill will to the people in management but you’ve had three years and it’s gotten worse and worse and worse.”
WMAR-2 News asked FedEx for their response to the driver's claims. A spokesperson sent the statement below:
“As we have stated previously, the security of our customers’ shipments is of the utmost importance. FedEx Ground is constantly exploring ways to enhance security protocols, which include a number of prevention and detection measures to reduce shipment risk within our network. To ensure the effectiveness of those methods, we do not publicly disclose details.
FedEx Ground has been adding resources throughout the pandemic to keep pace with the significant growth in e-commerce. In hiring and onboarding new team members, we remain committed to complying with all laws applying to our operations.
Should you receive further inquiries from customers regarding the status of their shipments, please refer them to FedEx customer service at fedex.com.”