Local law enforcement warns public of holiday “porch pirates”

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – If you have ordered gifts online, any day now packages will start showing up on the doorstep.

Holiday package delivery usually means a spike in “porch pirates” – those people who take those packages while you’re not home.

Lieutenant Andy Long with the Amory Police Department said getting caught taking something that’s not yours can land a person serious jail time.

“If they take it off the porch, in the state of Mississippi that would be trespassing, which is a misdemeanor and then the theft of it would be determined on the amount of the product, depending on what you had delivered, or what they wind up taking,” said Long.

If the stolen item is worth $1,000 or more, Long said it’s considered Grand Larceny, which is a felony.

Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Randle said there are several steps you can take to prevent something like this from happening to you.

“Make sure you got somebody there to pick it up because you do know that holiday season brings about a lot of activity that’s unwanted,” said Randle.

“Make sure you’re talking to your neighbors. Neighborhood watch could be as many as you and your neighbor,” said Long.

Lt. Long said so far this holiday season, they haven’t had any reports of stolen packages, but they did have one earlier this year.

“Thanks to a doorbell video, with high-quality video, we were able to identify that suspect and successfully prosecute them,” said Long.

If you see someone taking your delivery or your neighbor’s, police advise you to not confront the thief.

“If you see someone that’s not from the neighborhood or you see someone in the backyard, please pick up the phone, call 9-1-1 or your local agency to get a car in that area because a brief description of someone goes a long way,” said Randle.

“Keep your eyes on them. Don’t try to interact with them. Don’t try to stop them to hold them. You’ll wind up possibly having some civil or possibly criminal issue going on with your self,” said Long.

According to a recent study by Comcast, 1 in 4 people have had a package stolen from their home.

Police said if you have anything stolen, or see something suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency.

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