Local police share ‘porch pirate’ prevention tips

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Cyber Monday, hundreds of thousands of Americans are heading to their computers to score can’t-miss holiday deals.

As your orders begin to ship, we have some tips to ensure your doorstep is the package’s final destination–and not in the hands of someone else.

“We have had some reports of it happening,” said Rockford Police Sergeant Paul Sarantopoulos.

A record number of customers are turning to online shopping this holiday season because of COVID-19. While it can be convienent to have gifts delivered, local police say it is important to be vigilant prevent your packages from being stolen.

“It’s just a good idea for it not to be sitting outside for an extended period of time,” said Sergeant Sarantopoulos.

Sergeant Sarantopoulos says that knowing when your package is set to arrive and picking it up right away is one way to thwart porch pirates.

“If you’re not at home to do so, maybe you have a neighbor you trust that can pick it up for you and hold onto it so that you’re able to get it from them,” he added.

Loves Park Patrol Officer Chad Palmer says that taking advantage of new technology can help keep packages safe.

“There’s an app you can get, you can open up your garage door with, you can have them call you when they deliver and you can actually open your garage door and then shut it from away from home,” described Officer Palmer.

If you think you’ve fallen victim to porch pirates, police suggest calling to confirm your package was actually delivered, before filing a report. Checking with neighbors can also be helpful to make sure they didn’t end up with it by accident.

If you have cameras, be sure to provide investigators any footage of the incident.

“Photographs or video of the suspect, clothing descriptions. We’re able to see vehicles. It provides us with things to follow up with. Otherwise, if there is no video available, it’s basically just a whodunnit,” Sergeant Sarantopoulos added.

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