PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Cyber Monday is here, and your inbox is likely flooded with online deals. Perhaps you’ve already snagged a few and are now waiting for the boxes to hit your doorstep, but have you considered the possibility of porch pirates this season?

A new study reveals one in three people in the U.S. have had a package stolen in the past year.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies are combating that very problem. They’re ramping up efforts again this season to catch thieves who steal packages.

If you think you can outsmart their bait packages, think again.

Five years ago, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office started their bait package program, and it’s worked every shopping season. They package a real gift inside a real box, sealed with real postage.

“The mail theft statute requires that, in order to be considered mail theft, that the item has to be delivered by a postal service employee with postage attached,” Det. Patrick Altiere, who heads the program at the sheriff’s office, said.

So, just how do they catch the porch pirates? Beyond the box and the item inside, there’s also a GPS tracker.

Deputies plant bait packages all year long, but ramp up the number of decoys around busy shopping times.

When the tracker inside their box detects motion, an alert goes out, and deputies are already on their way.

“You don’t hear a lot of sob stories," Altiere said. "These aren’t the people that are stealing a can of food to feed their family. They’re literally just depriving someone of something for their own benefit."

If you’re worried about your packages being stolen, and don’t have the luxury of staying at home, deputies have a few tips.

They suggest scheduling deliveries to arrive when you are home, or to be sent to your office. Or you can have packages delivered to shipping stores or an Amazon locker. They say it’s also smart to install a security camera.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

Tamoura

[pirate] Please don't forget to make people aware of thief's stealing mail in mailboxes looking for gift cards, cash in greeting cards, please change your mailbox to a lock box, the thief's like to walk early morning before you get up and steals ALL your mail and tosses away anything that does not have anything they want.The thefts happen more two weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas

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