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'Tis the season… for porch pirates!

Police offer tips to prevent the crime or help catch a suspect on your home security system.

Christmas is only one week away, and many holiday shoppers are waiting for packages to arrive at their homes.

But ‘tis the season for porch pirates, looking for any opportunity to swipe items from unsupervised front doors.

“It’s definitely a crime of opportunity, but the opportunity is increased significantly this time of year,” said Julie Glynn, an Arvada police officer. “It’s a huge problem this time of year and its metro-wide.”

Glynn said, in Arvada, officers take about one report a day for stolen packages during the holiday season. They shared a video of one recent theft, where a man driving a box truck steals a bag from a stranger’s porch. The thief would later realize the contents inside were just laundry.

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Glynn offers a few tips for holiday shoppers:

  • If possible, have items delivered to your office mail room, rather than your home
  • Ask a neighbor to help by grabbing the packages, if they get home before you do
  • Request a signature for deliveries, or request the delivery company to place items in a safe location on your property

She said police also appreciate a homeowner’s personal security camera footage.

“We do like to get that surveillance footage, we'll even go out and talk to neighbors to see if there’s footage across the street or next door, that saw something if the house that we are responding to did not have cameras,” she said.

Glynn said close-ups of a suspect's face are helpful, and so are wide shots of the street.

“Sometimes we get vehicles in the background which is very useful if we can get license plates that helps even more,” she said.

Just this week, somebody stole a delivery from Adrian Dedering’s front porch in Littleton. He was home at the time but didn’t realize until after it happened. Dedering said the thief arrived right after the mail truck left.

“Almost immediately,” he said. “Which is really concerning because these people are following the mail trucks around and just waiting and finding a home where it looks like no one is there, and just coming and taking it.”

The porch pirates stole Christmas gifts he and his wife purchased for their baby daughter’s first Christmas. Dedering said it was disturbing to watch the suspect on video captured on his Nest camera system, but it shows what the woman looks like and the small, dark-colored car that drove her away.

He said he reported the theft to local law enforcement.

“Just to walk up to somebody’s home and steal packages off their property speaks volumes about what kind of person you are,” he said.

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