Porch Pirates are on the loose this holiday season. They’re stealing packages right off porches and running off with them.
Last Tuesday, a woman went up to Scott Dan’s house and knocked on his front door, but she wasn’t there to say hi.
Dan was actually at work and the woman was getting ready to steal his packages.
When he arrived at his home on the 1800 block of Link St., he noticed his mail wasn’t there. He was expecting about $50 worth of stuff: a sweatshirt, a t-shirt and toe warmers.
He checked the security footage on his doorbell and sees the woman taking his packages at about 12:30 p.m. that day. She even hung around after knocking to first make sure no one was home.
Dan called police and two days later, they arrested Andrea Coker on theft charges.
Police already recognized her from past charges of theft and fraud.
“It’s happening to me now,” Dan said. “You always hear stories of it happening to other people and you think it’s not going to happen to my front door, to my house, to my stuff. This time it did.”
According to court documents, Coker admitted to picking the mail and package up. She said she then gave it to “Ashley” who lives there, but was sitting in her blue vehicle on the street. Dan said that he does not know an “Ashley” and in the video no one is seen in the blue vehicle parked on the street in front of the house.
“You gotta protect yourself,” Dan said of porch piracy. “Be vigilant. You never know when it’s going to happen. If it’s expensive and it’s worth it, don’t let it sit out there all day.”
There are several ways to keep porch piracy from happening to you.
Ask for your package to be held for pick up at a UPS or Fedex Center or an area post office.
You can also request the package be delivered to an alternative location, such as a neighbor or family member’s house or even your place of work.
If you’d like to receive the package yourself at home, request an option where you have to provide a signature to the delivery person.
Security cameras are also a smart preventative measure according to Gabby Christian, a Smart Home Expert for Best Buy.
“It does make me kind of sad, but there are ways you can prevent it with home security cameras, whether it’s a doorbell camera or a camera on your porch so you can keep an eye on it,” she said.
She also recommended using a store pick up option for your items.
Fort Wayne Police Department spokesperson said they’ve had 75 porch package thefts reported so far this year.