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Porch Pirates: Taking holiday treasure right off your porch

With the holiday season nearing, American’s are ordering packages by the million.

As these orders are fulfilled, holiday gifts and other orders are often left on doorsteps and porches.

A recent trend, which has become increasingly popular over the past few years, is people stealing these unattended packages. Known as “porch pirates,” these individuals are generally taking advantage of the opportunity, according to Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen.

“Oh yeah, ’tis the season,” Nielsen said.

With boxes and envelopes arriving at doorsteps daily, “porch pirates” are feasting their eyes on unclaimed deliveries.

“And it is certainly an opportunity, for someone, if you’re in a city or stuff where there’s a lot of traffic by your house, it’s a crime of opportunity,” Nielsen explained.

Some homeowners have installed doorbell cameras, allowing them to see anyone who comes onto their property. Often footage of these thieves ends up on social media, which can be helpful. But it’s also potentially harmful to you.

“I love watching those things on the door,” Nielsen said. “But, if on the post, you put I know this to be my neighbor down the street and he came here to rob me or to steal my stuff, now you’ve stepped over the bounds and you’re accusing without any due process or without anything of that effect and you can be in trouble for it, both civilly and criminally.”

Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share the video, rather that it would be most beneficial for you to give it law enforcement.

“What we need is to be able to have the facts. And it’s awful hard to have a jury sit and watch somebody go to the house look around, grab a package and run and this is it. They’re toast. That’s the best kind of evidence you can get,” Nielsen said.

As it’s always important to remember, “no one is guilty until they’re proven…and that’s by a court, not by public opinion,” Nielsen said.

As a way of preventing any of these issues, Sheriff Nielsen recommends people take away the opportunity.

“Call the company. Call FexEx, Call UPS, Call the mail and have them hold it…otherwise it’s just going to be dropped off,” he said.

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