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Package Thefts On The Rise As More Get Items Delivered, Drivers Follow Safety Precautions Leaving Items In Plain Sight

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With more people now working and staying at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, police say porch pirates are getting out more to steal what's being delivered to your home.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, thieves are also taking advantage of safety measures delivery drivers are following to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Porch Pirate Follows Delivery Truck Through LA Neighborhood, Swipes Packages
Surveillance photos of a porch pirate who followed a delivery truck through the Melrose District neighborhood of Los Angeles and stole packages as they were delivered. April 11, 2020. (Los Angeles Police Department)

Police said the drivers are being instructed not to touch doorknobs, gate latches, or any frequently touched surfaces.

Sometimes, instead of at your door, packages are placed in exposed visible locations, making it easier for porch pirates to steal.

A man in the Melrose District recently had a package stolen that was left right on a resident's walkway. Police said the video showed a porch pirate in action.

Detectives believe the man followed a delivery driver and once the package was left in the front yard, the suspect got out of his car, opened the fence, snatched the package, and left.

Pete White, a delivery driver for a big name company said, "We always get notices that people are following us, describe the color of the vehicle they're in, describe the people, saying be careful out there are people following you. Happens all the time, just ramping up this time."

Police are reminding delivery drivers that if you think you're being followed, divert your route to confirm the person is following, then call the police.

White said he's always aware of his surroundings and wears a mask, gloves and uses hand sanitizer regularly.

"We have to be safe not only for ourselves but for other people because we don't know if the people we're delivering to, they could have underlying problems so we have to be really careful."

To protect your deliveries, police recommend having your packages delivered to your workplace or install a secure delivery box at your home. You can also have them delivered to UPS or FED-EX pick-up spots or Amazon lockers.

"We'll pay more attention when deliveries are coming and follow the tracking and know what time they're coming," said homeowner Rae Ann Lanfear.

The LAPD said the man in the video was driving a late 1990's Mercury Mountaineer.

If you recognize him or have information that can help, call theft detectives at LAPD's Wilshire Division.

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