by Mugo Odigwe

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s that time of year. Many are doing their Christmas shopping online, but those orders could be stolen from front porches.

That’s why police departments across the Sacramento area are setting up bait packages to catch thieves in the act.

“Packages are delivered and people are doing their own version of Christmas shopping by taking it off the front door,” said Detective Scott Brown of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

The department has once again rolled out its bait program. The goal is to catch porch pirates in the act and they do it with the help of companies such as Amazon.

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“Not only did they give us some of their boxes with some of their stuff on it but they gave us a roll of their tape so it has their Amazon symbols on it,” said Brown.

In addition to a tracking to a device, the boxes contain legitimate items like a donated iPad or laptop. Officials say the bait program helped them catch several porch pirates last year.

“We were all in the area when the package was taken, we were notified and we came in and caught him with the package in his hand.”

The Sacramento City Police Department is also on the lookout for porch pirates.

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“We have them placed different parts of the city and no specific area is any different than another,” said Officer Linda Matthew.

Matthew added that these are crimes of opportunity so “have your packages tracked using the online tracking number so you can tell when they are about to be delivered to your home,” Matthew said.

Another option is to have items shipped to a workplace or relative who’s likely to be home when the packages arrive.

Either way, officials say the bait packages will be out just in case.

“Hopefully it deters them from committing the crime altogether and if they do, hopefully, they take out the package and we catch them,” he said.

Officials also want to encourage people to make a police report when their packages are stolen. Those police reports help officers put resources where they are needed.


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