If a porch pirate or porch predator shows up at your home, call the police.By Jessica Guay

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – Police are reminding residents to beware of porch pirates this holiday season.

It’s that time of year when we order gifts for loved ones, but you might not be the only one keeping an eye out for your packages. Just like the grinch, porch pirates will try to steal Christmas.

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Ross Township Police Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said you can deter thieves from snatching holiday deliveries from your doorstep.

Some tips include:

  • Track your package so you know when it will arrive.
  • Have a neighbor grab the boxes if you aren’t home.
  • Have it delivered to your office.
  • Choose the delivery pick-up option.
  • “Try to track when you know packages are coming. If you have something you ordered that’s a high dollar amount, perhaps have it delivered to your office. Or one of the best things is to have neighbors look out for each other,” Kohlhepp said. “If you know you have something coming, maybe have a neighbor grab it so it’s not sitting on your porch.”

    If you don’t want to deliver to your work or rely on a neighbor, UPS seasonal employee Don Rotolo said you can specify where to leave packages outside of your home.

    “A lot of times, people will want it delivered to the door they feel safer with. Maybe inside the door, side door, whichever they prefer, that’s what we do,” said Rotolo.

    Kohlhepp said doorbell cameras and security cameras can be good deterrents. He said porch pirates may drive around looking for packages, or they take the easy route and follow delivery trucks.

    “Be wary of cars that are following delivery trucks. We’ve had incidents where people followed delivery trucks and one of the main places they hit are apartment complexes,” Kohlhepp said.

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    Police and delivery companies advise people to not let packages sit on their porch all day.

    “The longer it sits there, the more chance it has of getting stolen. So usually when we go up to the door, we put our flashers on, we honk, and we ring the doorbell to let them know UPS is there, they have a delivery,” said Rotolo.

    Stay alert so those deliveries make it under the tree.

    “It’s hard to explain to a child on Christmas morning that you let the package slip off the porch because you weren’t prepared for that,” Detective Sgt. Kohlhepp said.

    It’s not just porch pirates that could try to steal Christmas. Ross Township police want you to be aware of porch predators too.

    “The porch predator rings the doorbell to see if you’re home and that could be to steal a package or to break in your house,” Kohlhepp said. “If you’re home or if you have a Ring doorbell camera, answer the door. I don’t mean open the door but verbalize a response so they know someone is home or through the camera make a contact with the person.”

    He said most home break-ins happen during the day when you’re not home.

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    If a porch pirate or porch predator shows up at your home, call the police. Call the police and delivery company to report stolen packages.