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‘Porch pirates’ are on the prowl for holiday packages; How to keep your presents safe

DAVENPORT, IOWA – Thieves, or what some call “porch pirates” are striking local homes as Christmas presents start to arrive.

“You’re not just taking stuff – you’re taking, you know, gifts that’s for Christmas,” Brinley Brunner from Davenport said.

Brunner and her sister had toys and clothes stolen on Saturday from their porch. A video from their security cameras shows the theif wearing a gray sweatshirt picking up the packages, while another video from a neighbor shows the black car he took off in.

“They don’t see the person that they are effecting. They’re just seeing a package on a door step and saying oh I want that. I’m going to take that,” Brunner said.

She posted about the packages on Facebook to raise awareness and send a message.

“[Hopefully] deter them from maybe doing that,” she said. “This is kind of a warning. Don’t do this. It actually makes people sad.”

Sgt. John Davis with Clinton County police said package thefts usually pick up around the holidays.

“We do usually see a little uptick in this type of porch pirating as some people call it,” he said.

Davis said with as more people shop online during this time, there’s a greater risk.

“And maybe some of the stores having more online sales,” he said. “So there’s much more being delivered to houses.”

Aside from using security cameras, he gave this advice to keep presents safe:

  • Use a barrier to hide deliveries and leave special instructions for carriers
  • Have packages delivered to work or only if someone will be home
  • Track packages using online tracking systems
  • Contact police if you see anything suspicious
  • Grab packages quickly from your porch
  • Have the packages delivered to a friend or relative’s home whom you trust that is home during the day
  • Choose the “ship to store” option if it’s available, and pick up your items at your convenience.

Local 4 also spoke with East Moline police today about the increase in package thefts. Sgt. Anthony Frankowski said police chief Jeff Ramsey has asked officers to increase their patrols throughout residential neighborhoods during the holiday season.

An estimated one third of Americans had a package stolen in 2019.

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