COLORADO SPRINGS- It’s a crime that’s become so common the suspects have earned the nickname “porch pirates” known for stealing packages right off of your doorstep. If you haven’t had a package stolen from your porch and you aren’t protecting yourself the number suggest you could be next. In the last year 11 million people have reported packages being stolen from their doorstep. Almost all of the packages were taken during the daytime hours while the victims were away or at work. The crooks know it’s easy money, so they keep stealing. Most packages are valued between $50 and $100 dollars.
“He’s just non-chalant just like he belongs here. He walked up very casually, picked it up and walked off, didn’t look around, just got in his truck and drove off,” said Ken Charles, looking at surveillance video of his first encounter with a “porch pirate”. “We didn’t know anything really. We didn’t know anyone who has had that happen.”
But it turns out in the last six months Colorado Springs neighborhoods have seen plenty of people willing to take packages that don’t belong to them. Many residents sharing surveillance videos from the front of theircolorado springs homes. One suspect was even out for a stroll with a young child when they spotted a package that was too good to pass up. Another takes a good look before awkwardly walking away with the package. Investigators say surveillance video like this has changed the game for investigators.
“It can be somewhat difficult in investigating, however in today’s times we’re seeing a lot more video that’s out there,” said Lt. Howard Black of the Colorado Springs Police Depatment.
Noticeably shaken to learn about what’s going on, Ken Charles hopes police investigators will make an arrest.
“That’s the only way it is going to stop is having some backing from the police,” said Charles.
As investigators try to find the thieves, people have started to get more aggressive in protecting their packages including the use of surveillance cameras that have speakers so victims can actually talk to the suspects. The folks at Ring surveillance say the repeat offenders are starting to get the message to leave the packages alone. even if you can’t afford this kind of technology, investigators say you need to take steps to protect those packages.
“You can be creative in not allowing those packages to be visible from the street or the sidewalk on your front porch,” said Lt. Black.
For the Charles family this was all an important learning experience. They say at the end of the day the joke is on the “porch pirate”.
“It was something so insignificant I’m glad he took it because he’s shocked. And it made us more aware of what we need to do to watch out for that type of thing happening in broad daylight,” said Charles.
So what do you do if you do have a package stolen? First, notify the police department and even the U.S. Postal Inspector who will investigate some of these cases as federal crimes.
Here is a list of some of the devices and companies that can help secure your packages: