Vancouver – Vancouver Police have returned thousands of dollars in stolen Christmas presents to their owners following an investigation targeting so-called porch pirates.
“Every year, the holiday season brings an increase in parcel thefts, as the convenience of online shopping creates easy opportunities for thieves,” says Constable Tania Visintin.“The porch pirates follow vans for Amazon, UPS, and other delivery companies, then steal packages from peoples’ doorsteps after drivers drop them off.”
After a month’s-long investigation, VPD’s Property Crime Unit executed a search warrant on December 7 at a home in Burnaby , recovering Nike runners, golf clubs, scooters, tools and dozens of other would-be Christmas presents. Most of the parcels have now been returned to the rightful owners.
James Wood has been charged with two counts of theft and the investigation is ongoing.
Between September 1 to December 7, there were 146 package thefts reported to Vancouver Police – almost half of them occurring in November alone. Most parcel thefts occur in residential areas, like South Vancouver, where items are often left on doorsteps.
The VPD offers the following tips:
- consider an alternate shipping address where your package can be received, such as at work, or at the home of a friend or neighbour
- customize your delivery if possible – request a signature or hold for pick-up
- install a package lockbox – if you have deliveries showing up daily you may want to consider installing a lockbox
- request a signature on delivery – consider having your packages delivered only when someone is available to sign for them.
Property crime is often preventable and the VPD asks that citizens report suspicious behaviour to police immediately by calling 9-1-1. Anyone who is a victim of theft should follow up with the delivery company and make a report with their local police.