HOLIDAY PACKAGE THEFT

(KPTV image)

HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) – As online shopping is becoming more of the norm, especially during the holiday season, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is keeping an eye out for porch pirates looking to steal your valuable gifts.

It’s launching its fourth Bait Package Program.

“They’re going to use other people’s good fortune and try to make it their own. And we want to deter that, and we want to catch the people doing it,” Property Crimes Unit Detective for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Patrick Altiere said. “Every year we take GPS trackers we put them in packages and we put them on volunteers’ porches in hopes that somebody will steal them.”

Altiere said the program is highly effective in tracking down criminals.

“Every year we get multiple custodies out of it. Every year we deter a lot of thefts,” he said.

The program resulted in three arrests in 2017.

This year the sheriff’s office is doubling its bait packages across Washington County.

The sheriff's office told FOX 12 that wouldn’t be possible without the Sheriff’s Office Foundation of Washington County.

The program targets areas that have had higher cases of package thefts.

The device inside a bait package has three ways of tracking, one is GPS which gives deputies a play-by-play location of the package.

“This is our tracker driving away from the porch that it was porch that it was on,” Altiere said showing FOX 12 how the GPS works if a suspect steals a package.

The device can also be tracked through cell signal and radio frequency, which leaves few chances for a grinch to ruin this season of giving.

“If you steal one of our trackers we’re going to catch you,” Altiere said.

Wednesday is package protection day so here are some tips:

  • Have packages delivered when you’re going to be home, or have a secure place it can be delivered like an Amazon locker or a family or friend’s house.
  • If packages must be delivered when you’re not home, leave a note to have it dropped somewhere on your property that isn’t visible from the street.
  • Leave your porch lights on, install cameras.
  • If you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood, report it.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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