Would-be porch pirates targeted by feds and local law enforcement during undercover operation

Bait packages placed in local neighborhoods
Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 20:52:14-05

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- The feds are teaming up with local law enforcement to target would-be porch pirates this holiday season. The undercover operation is similar to others taking place across the country.

Police set out bait packages in a Greenwood Village neighborhood Tuesday and waited to see if anyone would approach the boxes.

Denver7 followed agents with the U.S. Postal Inspector Police and Greenwood Village Police during the height of the holiday shipping season. On Sunday, 300,000 packages were delivered by the Post Office in the Denver Metro area.

"So we’re out here working with local law enforcement because we want to let people know that postal inspectors are here to protect your holiday mail," said Eric Manuel, a postal inspector based in Denver. "We’re here year-round. We even have agents on duty Christmas day to make sure your mail is safe and your packages are safe.”

Greenwood Village police officers have been stepping up patrols in neighborhoods since the beginning of December. They coordinated their efforts with delivery trucks to make sure no one was following them.

"We know we have the porch pirates, is what everybody’s been calling them, but the package thieves are out in force. They’re hitting everybody around us," said Commander Eric Schmitt, with the Greenwood Village Police Department.

No one ended up approaching the bait packages, but more operations like this are being planned. Police also stopped to talk with delivery drivers to ensure they're ringing the doorbell and trying to place packages in a discrete location when possible.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is tweeting out tips on social media sites like Twitter using the hash tag #PorchPirateCO. It is a federal crime to steal mail delivered by the Post Office. Offenders could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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