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How to prevent and report porch pirates this holiday season

Sylvania Police caught a porch pirate from out of state stealing packages in a local neighborhood earlier this month.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — If you ordered anything online for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, make sure you are keeping an eye on your front porch.

Police are reminding you to be on the lookout for your package as some local departments have already taken reports of people stealing packages.

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If you have a Ring doorbell or some sort of security camera, that is always helpful to make sure your packages stay on your porch and useful for police when it comes to making a report. But if you don’t have one of those devices, here are a few tips:

  • Require a signature for when your package gets delivered. This can help ensure it gets delivered to the right address.
  • Make sure you are tracking your package after you order it and know what day its expected to be delivered. 
  • Turn on any notifications on your phone so you know exactly when it arrives. 
  • Lastly, use a credit card, especially for big purchases. If something happens, you will usually be able to report the issue.

If you have a security camera or see someone stealing your package in real time, police say gather any evidence you can, but do not approach that person while they are taking your package.

"If that were something that's happening in real time, where you see it on Ring or perhaps you ended up being home and the person grabbed the package, we wouldn't want you to make direct contact with that person," Sylvania Police Chief Rick Schnoor said. "We'd want you to get ahold of law enforcement."

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Charges for these types of incidents vary depending on the price of the package that is stolen, but typically they are misdemeanor theft charges.

"Nine times out of 10 the person who is grabbing the packages has no idea what it is," Chief Schnoor said. "It's a crime of opportunity. And trying to make that more difficult or take that unattended package out of the equation is a big factor."

Another good tip is to have your packages sent to your work or someone you know is home during the day. While there haven't been an overwhelming amount of local reports of porch pirates so far, it is something police look out for this time of year.

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