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Aransas Pass Police uses trackers to catch porch pirates

Posted at 7:34 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 20:34:44-05

ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Don’t you just hate it when your package says it’s arrived at your door and you look outside and it’s not there? It happens a lot, especially during the holiday season. They’re called porch pirates, and no, they’re not the ones from out at sea. They’re people who steal packages off people’s porch.

Aransas Pass residents said it’s a problem that they’re all too familiar with, unfortunately.

“I watch very carefully for when they deliver my package. I make sure to know what day and everything that they come on,” Jeannie Tucker said.

Jenny Lindley, another Aransas Pass Resident, said she’s had her packages stolen off her porch even though she has a camera.

“We do have a ring camera but it hasn’t proved always helpful so we just get our packages sent to my in laws’ house,” Lindley said.

That’s why the Aransas Pass Police Department decided to get creative, putting trackers in a fake package box, a box that sometimes even has Amazon packaging. The tracker is a small device that can even fit in a phone or iPad.

“The way you look at it, you can’t tell if it’s our package or you can’t tell if the post office left it there,” Aransas Pass Police Chief Eric Blanchard said.

The tracker immediately activates once someone has picked up the package, sending the police an alert with the thief’s location. It updates every few seconds on a map so the police can track their location and make an arrest on the scene. Blanchard said in the 6 years they’ve had the program, they’ve caught around 60 thieves.

“Initially when it took off it was nothing to arrest 3 people a day. Now the word has gone around over the last several years,” he said.

Not too far away, the Rockport Police Department also has a program that aims at keeping away porch pirates. They allow people to send their packages directly to the police station and they only need their I.D. to pick it up.

“It’s a measure I think that makes people feel a little bit more secure and we’re also about crime prevention,” Rockport Police Chief Greg Stevens said.

He said package thefts aren’t a common problem in Rockport, but he still encourages residents to call them if they see sketchy activity like someone following a mail delivery truck.

“Maybe have a neighbor pick up a package or something, but the biggest thing is, look out for each other, if you feel like somebody might scope out a house and they’re going to take something off of the porch,” Stevens said.