NEW YORK — The holiday season is now in full swing, and so are the thieves looking to steal your packages.

That’s why postal police and customers alike are infuriated by a recent theft of multiple packages in Queens, and a local union tells CBS2’s Tim McNicholas it could have been prevented.

New York is a holiday shopping mecca, in person or online, but when McNicholas showed shoppers a picture of a pillaged pile of packages, it didn’t exactly fill them with holiday cheer.

Amazon was supposed to bring the pallet of packages to USPS over the weekend so they could finish their delivery, but postal inspectors say an Amazon driver left them on the sidewalk early Sunday morning, outside the closed security gate at the Jamaica post office, then left.

“This was not a secure location,” a postal inspector said. “And provided the opportunity for thieves to help themselves to unattended packages.”

Sources tell CBS2 Amazon was supposed to deliver the packages to Bay Ridge, not the Jamaica post office.

“People are waiting for their presents to be wrapped up, and maybe it’s someone else’s and you just, you can’t do that,” Long Island resident Ruhi Shah said.

Now, the postal police officers’ union is pointing to this mishap as an example of why they say an officer should be patrolling the post office overnight.

With more than 2 million packages delivered every day across the city, thieves are looking for more opportunities this holiday season.

“This is a growing threat,” said consumer watchdog Teresa Murray, with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Her advice for online shoppers? Don’t use debit cards.

“Particularly when it comes to merchandise and that you might worry about not getting it or it getting stolen, you have far, far greater protections with credit cards,” Murray said.

Experts also say you should try to deliver your packages to secure locations with a package room.

But as this example shows, it still might get swiped.

“I’m gonna kinda go to the department store and get it so that way this won’t happen,” one shopper said.

Sources tell CBS2 other Amazon packages were also left unsecured that same morning in Rockaway Park, but none were stolen, so those recipients will get their stocking stuffers… hopefully.

We’ve reached out to Amazon to ask how that happened and we have not heard back.

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