Morgan County Sheriff’s Office warns of ‘porch pirates’

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — When it comes to holiday shopping, many people love the convenience of making purchases online and having them shipped to their doorstep. That is especially true this year to stay safe and avoid catching the COVID-19 virus by going out in public.

Unfortunately, thieves are taking advantage of the abundance of potentially-valuable deliveries.

“Each year, we have incidents where someone comes to somebody’s porch and takes a package they’ve been waiting on for Christmas,” says Mike Swafford, the PIO for Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office recently sited a study estimating at least 1 in 4 Americans will have a package stolen from their doorstep. This year, because of COVID-19, it may even be more prevalent.

“This year, we’re trying to be a little bit further ahead because we see people getting more into the holiday spirit sooner because of what we dealt with, with COVID but we also know because of COVID, people are going to buy even more packages,” said Swafford.

Even though it’s not yet December, the Sheriff’s Office is urging you to make a plan for your packages now.

“Have a doorbell camera and you can watch it,” said Swafford. “Schedule it to a day when you’re there. Work with a neighbor. Use the post office. Those are the types of things you need to think through so that you’re protected and you’re not just making an easy target for a porch pirate.”

Swafford says last year, around two dozen stolen packages were reported in Morgan County to the Sheriff’s Office, but adds that a majority are never reported.

The Sheriff’s Office expects the number of missing packages to rise this year.

“Number one, you’ve got people that have dealt with COVID,” he said. “It’s affected their job, it’s affected their cashflow and they still want presents and stuff for Christmas so they’re going to find the easy way. On top of that, you have more people ordering more things, so that means there’s going to be more packages out there.”

Swafford says the best way to avoid your package being stolen this year is to know when it’s coming and track it, so you can expect the delivery.

If there is no delivery, a claim should be made. If you catch a porch pirate on camera, make sure to report it to your local law enforcement agency so they can try and investigate the situation.

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