A young woman jogs up to a front door with a red bandana wrapped around her head, covering headphones. She glances around before picking up a recently delivered package and bolting into the street, where she hops on a bicycle and begins to pedal away.
This recent scene of a so-called “porch pirate” at work was captured Nov. 30 in Boynton Beach, FL by a homeowner’s Ring Doorbell, a device that, when triggered by motion, records any activity near your front door.
The footage was shared by the Boynton Beach Police Department in its efforts to find the woman, and it quickly went viral, being featured on national TV shows including “Good Morning America.”
It’s an example of a growing problem as online shopping becomes even more popular: The likelihood of packages being stolen after they are delivered to your doorstep.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, one in five people in the U.S. are the victim of package theft.
And that number only grows around the holidays.
SMILE – YOU’RE ON NATIONAL TV! That’s right – video of you stealing a package was on @gma. Let this be a warning to anyone else thinking about stealing packages from the porches of homes in our community. We will use all resources available to us to stop you. #bbpdpride pic.twitter.com/2U6FXIegw5
— Boynton Beach Police (@BBPD) December 3, 2019
In the case of the Boynton Beach package, it had just been delivered by a wary Amazon driver who told police she saw the woman nab the parcel. At the end of the video, the delivery driver can be seen pulling her van up to confront the woman, who ditches the package and takes off on her bicycle.
With online shopping overtaking traditional brick-and-mortar stores for the first time earlier this year, chances are high you’ll have to be away from home when a package is delivered.
Here’s a few steps law enforcement agencies are suggesting to help protect your packages. Hey, you paid $12 for that Blu-Ray movie and by God, it’s yours to enjoy.
1. Install a real-time security camera. Devices like the Ring Doorbell send alerts to your smartphone so you know when there’s motion near your front door. And this tech allows you to talk back to whoever might be there, allowing you to spook a potential thief, or give a delivery driver directions on where to hide that package.
2. Track your package closely and make sure someone is home to receive it.
3. If you live in a planned community with a guard house or a clubhouse, see if the package can be delivered there instead of your front door.
4. Schedule the delivery for a time when someone will be home.
5. Require a signature for delivery.
6. If you see something, say something. You can report suspicious activity through PBSO’s app.
In the meantime, Boynton Beach police are still looking for the woman seen on the video. If you have a tip, call Boynton police at 561-732-8116 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.
Sources: Boynton Beach Police Department, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
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