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Tips from police on how to avoid porch pirates this holiday season

Police warning residents to stay alert of porch pirates in Camden County
Police warning residents to stay alert of porch pirates in Camden County 02:03

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- Porch pirates are targeting homes this time of year in the Philadelphia region with packages sitting on people's doorsteps this holiday season. Police are calling it a crime of opportunity.

In Camden County, police say a woman was recently caught on security camera stealing boxes from a church.

Gloucester Township Police said 42-year-old Sandra Ogburn was arrested and charged after she allegedly stole several boxes of religious paintings and memorabilia worth some $2,600.

Police said the packages were delivered and intercepted on Nov. 9  outside the Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Sicklerville.

"We do suspect her in other package thefts because, in the surveillance video, she had more packages in the car," Chief David Harkins said.

Alexandra Palmisano lives around the corner from the church and says she always keeps an eye out after buying anything online.

"The only thing I can do is just make sure when it arrives here I get it right away because if not you might take that loss," Palmisano said. 

Package thefts often increase this time of year, but there are some tips to avoid porch pirates this holiday season: 

  • Police say to install a security camera outside your front door
  • Reschedule a delivery if you're not going to be home or ask a neighbor to grab your packages
  • Police also encourage you to use a company that uses a tracking service and check online or have notifications on your phone to see when the package is scheduled to arrive

"That will minimize the time that the package is out there and minimize the opportunity the criminal has to steal it," Hawkins said. 

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