'Porch pirates' target Christmas gifts

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 18:59:55-05

Tulsa police are on the hunt for thieves who are looking to ruin your holiday.

Authorities call them “porch pirates” and say they have been targeting Green Country Christmas gifts.

More people than ever are choosing to forgo crowded stores and do their Christmas shopping online. It's quick, easy and a lot of vendors provide free shipping.

The only problem is that thieves are stalking Green Country neighborhoods, looking for delivery boxes on porches and in mailboxes.

"I was sitting in the front of the house and the mailman put a box in the mail box. And then I got distracted,” says Jay Wagner. "I reminded myself later to go out and get the mail and it was gone."

Wagner is one of dozens of people in the metro area who have fallen victim to “porch pirates” this holiday season.

He says, "It really makes you think you need to keep an eye on what's going on in your neighborhood."

"This is a crime we see throughout the year. But during the holiday season it goes up. Because more people are shopping online,” says Tulsa police Ofc. Leland Ashley. He says porch and mailbox thefts are rampant this time of year. And unless the theft is captured by a camera, the thieves can be hard to catch

"That's the unfortunate thing …,” says Ashley. “… some family member who was hoping to get a gift, and they're not going to get it."

Ashley says it's best to have your gifts delivered to a work address or to ask a neighbor to grab them for you. You can also make sure the shipping company sends you email or texts alerts to let you know an approximate time your items will be delivered so someone is there to pick them up for you.

That's what Wagner says he will do from now on, "In looking back, we have great neighbors. And I wish I would have made some kind of arraignments with my neighbors. If I ever saw a package come to your house, I will grab it for you. And if you see one on mine, do the same for me."

Police say if you see someone driving slowly through your neighborhood, looking at porches, call police right away.

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