Police, victim warn of ‘porch pirates’ this holiday season

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An Inver Grove Heights man has an important reminder about “porch pirates” this holiday season after someone targeted his home this week.

Jason Collette recently had several packages stolen from his porch and says it happened in a matter of seconds.

“Ten seconds, in and out of my driveway,” Collette said, describing the incident. “Looked out my front window, noticed a car in my driveway and my packages were gone.”

So what did this thief get? Collette says the joke is on them; he helps deliver parts for exercise equipment.

“You got a good laugh because you got nothing of value,” Collette said.

Still, he’s frustrated that this stealthy move is impacting someone greatly.

“One of the packages that was taken, I have a customer that’s been waiting four months for that part,” Collette said.

There are plenty of steps you can take to protect your packages. St. Paul police say that includes using a doorbell camera or personalizing your delivery.

“We always see an uptick in package thefts this time of year,” St. Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said.

Ernster says you can require a signature from the delivery driver, have a neighbor stop by to grab the package or get it dropped off at a package pickup location at a nearby store.

“Put just as much thought on the delivery of the package as you did selecting it for the holidays,” Ernster said.

Collette says he has three cameras outside his home. While it didn’t stop the recent crime at his home, the video can help police identify the person or vehicle involved and potentially connect it to similar reports in the area.

“If we can interrupt that cycle, I think we can make a big difference for that area,” Ernster said.

As delivery drivers are busy this holiday season, some are ready to take advantage. Collette hopes everyone takes the extra steps to protect their purchases, and has a message for anyone who thinks stealing someone’s packages is OK.

“There’s hardworking people out there and to have their stuff taken, I don’t know how you sleep at night,” Collette said.