Post office, police team up to target 'porch pirates' as Christmas shopping ramps up

Social media plan spreads theft prevention tips

Aurora Police and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office have teamed up with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Denver to blitz residents with information to prevent package thefts as the holiday shopping season approaches.

To prevent package theft authorities suggest:

  • Never leaving packages in your mailbox or on your porch overnight;
  • Stay vigilant for unusual activity in your neighborhood. Cars of thieves are often spotted driving past homes then backing up when they spot a package.
  • Take advantage of tracking information and reroute your package if you won’t be home to receive it.
  • If you’re expecting a package and you don’t receive it – report it to the police. Authorities say many theft victims don’t reach out to law enforcement.
  • Ask your carrier to reroute your packages if you’re not home to receive them. Most carriers allow you to send your package to a holding center, even after it’s been mailed. Some charge a fee and will reroute it to your office or a friend’s home.

One Denver man had an approach of his own to snare a porch pirate.

Al Knepper set up surveillance cameras and put a package filled with wood on his front porch, attaching a bungee cord to the box. The package sat on his porch for four months – until Friday when he says a man finally took the bait.

"He [came] up to the door and [bent] down for the package, and I still wasn't quite sure what he was up to,” Knepper said. “Then [I] saw him try to run and I was like ‘I know what he's doing.’"

The video shows the man walk up to Knepper's box, pick it up and try to walk away. But the package bounces away out of his hands, and he takes off running. 

“It was quite entertaining,” Knepper told Denver7.

The man appears to be wearing a Nike shirt reading “That swoosh life.” Knepper reported the incident to police.

U.S. postal inspector Eric Manuel said he has been involved in apprehending package thieves and said he often asks suspects why they did it. 

“Some of them show concern for what they’ve done to their community,” Manuel said. “Others admit it’s often just about that excitement of it, or looking for a quick monetary gain.” 

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