On April 12, a resident of New York City’s Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn uploaded a video to NextDoor depicting someone suspiciously loading street barricades into what looks to be an Amazon Prime delivery van. When asked about what they were doing with the metal barriers — which were part of the city’s hotly debated “Open Streets” pandemic program to offer safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists — the unknown individual responded that they were instructed to “bring them back” to city officials.
NYC spokespeople denied this was the case, leading many to believe this to be an instance of a frustrated Amazon delivery worker attempting to make room for their vehicle... until Amazon said it has no idea who the mystery thief was. What’s more, the company added the Prime van depicted in the video is a counterfeit.
“The vehicle in the video is a counterfeit vehicle and we’re actively working with the NYPD as they investigate the incident,” an Amazon spokesperson told The New York Post last week. But, as Motherboard pointed out yesterday, “working with the NYPD” could end up being an extremely loaded response.
A number of troubling theories — As Motherboard notes, there are a few explanations that could solve the perplexing mystery surrounding a rogue Prime Delivery van, the first being the previously mentioned idea of a pissed-off Amazon employee attempting to keep up with their company’s demanding, not to mention invasive, expectations. That theory falls flat pretty quickly, though, when one considers it would be pretty easy for the All-Consuming Bezos Baby™ to track down an AWOL worker stuffing street barricades into the back of one of its vehicles. Unless Amazon is lying about the Prime van being “counterfeit,” which honestly wouldn’t surprise us in the least.
Then there’s the possibility of thieves using a fake Prime van as a cover for stealing customers’ deliveries right from their doorsteps, although if true, then the truck shown in the NextDoor video is a masterclass in forgery. While “some Amazon-branded decals can be found on eBay,” explains Motherboard, none of them “appear to be as sophisticated as whatever is happening on the Prime truck in question.”
Prime policing — The third explanation might sound far-fetched at first, but a review of recent events unfortunately gives it more credibility than we’d like: police could be using decoy Prime Delivery vans for surveillance or other covert work. Amazon has an unsurprisingly sordid history of working with law enforcement, while police... well, they’re the police.
“It is possible, then... that this was a cop disguised as an Amazon employee, collecting or replacing a barricade for a program that has lost steam because it hasn't been supported and reinforced by the city's government as the pandemic drones on,” Motherboard explains.
It’s not like police haven’t employed similar tactics before. Back in 2016, cops fessed up to disguising a spy truck as a Google Street View car, and they’ve done similar things with Uber and Lyft designs. So yeah, NYC residents: you might wanna ask to see a warrant the next time a Prime worker volunteers to assemble that desk you ordered.