SEATTLE - Christmas is over, but thieves may still be after your gifts.
In fact, you could be giving burglars an invitation to target your house by giving them revealing clues.
Seattle police told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter David Ham that thieves are going through neighborhoods looking for boxes that held pricey electronics.
Leaving empty boxes out is "a real clue to anybody, particularly to someone who would want to break into homes," Officer Myrle Carner of the Seattle Police Department's Crimestoppers, said. "They come by, see the box, and they know exactly where that came from."
"I was shocked," Rosalyn Bass-Fournier, a homeowner who left out an electronics box after Christmas, said. "I mean, I thought were doing a good thing by recycling our boxes."
Seattle police said that instead of leaving boxes out, gift recipients should cut them up into smaller pieces so thieves can't see what was inside.
It may take a few extra steps on pick-up day, but officers said it should be well worth the effort.
"As long as I've been in the business," Carner said, "it happens year, after year, after year."
Officers also recommend that owners of electronics take pictures or video of the items and serial numbers, to give to police in case anything ever happens.