Police say ‘porch pirate’ thefts preventable

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Aaron Oldham’s security cameras on his Orem home recorded a delivery person dropping off a couple of packages and, just minutes later, a woman walking up to his porch, stealing his packages and driving off in a white pickup truck full of other presumably stolen packages.

“It happened in seconds,” Oldham said.

The Oldham home is not the only victim of package thieves, or “porch pirates.” 

Both the Provo Police Department and U.S. Postal Inspector Jared Bingham agree that porch pirates are especially problematic during the holidays.

“There obviously is an increase in thefts during the holidays because of the increase of parcels coming through and being delivered to people’s porches,” Bingham said.

The key to preventing package theft is to get the package off your porch and in your home as soon as possible, according to Bingham.

“The most important thing is to just think about it,” Bingham said. “There are several tools in place that, if people take advantage of, they can pretty much ensure that their package will be delivered.”

Bingham recommended choosing a delivery time when you know you will be home, having a package delivered to your work or using the U.S Postal Service informed delivery tool, which shows what will be delivered to your house each day.

“The best defense really is to prevent it from happening in the first place,” Bingham said. “Once it’s gone, it’s pretty hard for law enforcement, unless they get lucky, to get your stuff back.”

Sergeant Nisha King from the Provo Police Department said that in the first nine days of December, they’ve had the same amount of stolen packages reported as in all of Dec. 2018. However, King doesn’t know exactly how many packages are stolen because some people report their missing packages to the seller rather than the police.

“It’s better to report it to us because you never know when we may catch someone and they’re in possession (of your package),” King said. “If we find it, we’ll likely be able to return it to you.”

King said residents can report missing packages in Provo on the Provo City Police website or by calling the non-emergency line, 801-852-6210.

Residents outside Provo can report stolen mail and packages by calling the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.

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