By Ralph Iannotti

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For package thieves, commonly called porch pirates, this might just be the most wonderful time of the year with the skyrocketing popularity of online shopping.

“This is 1:45 [Thursday] afternoon, the packages said they were delivered by Amazon,” said theft victim, Brian Valen.

The alleged thief was caught on camera sprinting up the front steps of Valen’s Squirrel Hill home. He had no way of knowing what was inside the boxes that he swiped, he probably didn’t care. He just wanted to get his hands on them.

“This guy, I guess, came on the front porch and ran up, grabbed the packages and left,” said Valen. “I actually had come home expecting the packages, and I thought maybe the babysitter had brought them in or my wife brought them in, and after just a little bit of looking around, I went back to the cameras and I saw someone who I didn’t recognize coming up to the porch and grabbing my packages. It was a little surreal.”

(Source: Brian Valen/

The thief tossed the packages in the front seat of his parked car. Another person was sitting in the front passenger seat, and when they drove off they were apparently in no hurry to get away. They stopped at the nearby stop sign, and put the signal light on before turning left.

There are several ways to avoid becoming a porch pirate victim.

If possible, avoid home deliveries all together. Instead, schedule deliveries like you would a cable TV repairman, or a grocery delivery.

Also, have packages dropped off to a neighbor who is at home during the day, or pick up the package yourself at the Post Office.

In some neighborhoods, postal police have started going undercover to try to catch these criminals.