Be on lookout for 'porch pirates' in days before Christmas

'Don't be hesitant to call the police'

Be on lookout for 'porch pirates' in...

EXETER TWP., Pa. - Police call them "porch pirates." They're thieves who take packages off porches.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, local police departments see an influx of reports regarding parcels picked from front porches in many neighborhoods.

"Everybody's getting deliveries and people are putting, deliveries are coming to people's porches, and that seems to be a problem. Certainly the nefarious criminal world knows that," said Sgt. David Bentz, Exeter Township Police Department.

Police said the man in this photo took a package from a porch in the 500 block of Cedar Street in Reading on Sunday.

In Exeter Township, these kinds of cases, like packages on doorsteps before Christmas, are piling up.

"I know we've had a number of cases where people have confirmation numbers of their packages being delivered, and they go to pick them up and they're not there," Bentz said.

And it's not just packages. Amity Township police recently arrested 32-year-old Stefan Salaneck of Union Township. They said he took a pair of Christmas light projectors.

There are ways to protect your packages and decorations.

"Have the packages delivered to work, where someone actually accepts the packages," Bentz explained. "People have put surveillance on their front porch and we could have video or stills of people taking packages that aren't theirs."

There are also things you can do after Christmas to avoid being targeted by thieves, mainly, be careful with that box for your new flat-screen TV.

"We ask that you not put them out on the curb to let everyone know what you got for Christmas. There are many municipal recycling centers. The county certainly has a municipal recycling center," Bentz advised.

Ultimately, if you see any "porch pirates" or "Grinches" in your neighborhood, alert the authorities.

"Don't be hesitant to call the police," Bentz said. "If you see something that is askew or doesn't look right, call us and let us investigate."

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