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Corvallis police catch porch pirates in the act

Online orders are on the rise, and police are bringing back a successful program to catch thieves taking advantage this holiday season.

Posted: Nov 30, 2020 5:45 PM
Updated: Nov 30, 2020 8:07 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Online orders are on the rise this year, so as many put it, it’s porch pirate season.

RELATED: BAIT PACKAGES LEAD TO THREE ARRESTS IN CORVALLIS

This is one reason why police say it is important to be vigilant this holiday season.

The Corvallis Police Department is bringing back a tactic proven to be successful in years past. It’s called the Package Bait Program.

KEZI 9 News talked to Lt. Ryan Eaton with the professional standards and support division of the department.

“We look at actual historical data about where packages have been stolen in the past,” Eaton said. “Then, we will utilize community partners in those neighborhoods and place the packages in there, so that we can try to increase the likelihood of having the package stolen and being able to make an arrest.”

The fake packages are used as bait and have tracking devices inside. Last year, the program helped police make four arrests, and they were able to clear seven cases.

This year alone, the Corvallis Police Department has received more than 1,600 reports of theft. That doesn’t include OSU’s campus or theft that goes unreported.

They will remain on high alert.

“With the increase of online deliveries, if you do see somebody acting in a suspicious manner or going up on other people's porches, be sure to call,” Eaton said. “Timely reports allow our officers to respond to those areas in a quick and responsive manner, and you never know the call you make that helps us catch somebody.”

KEZI 9 News spoke to Corvallis residents to hear their thoughts.

“I’m getting an Amazon box nearly every day,” Corvallis resident Beth Hilberg said. “I live in a little duplex and there’s people around. I don’t worry about it. Nothing’s been stolen that I know of. They send you little pictures of where they left your package.”

Eaton said there are steps you can take to protect yourselves this season.

Installing security lighting and cameras adds an extra layer of protection.

If possible, plan for your delivery to take place when you know your will be home.

Reach out to neighbors you trust to look out for your packages, if you know you will not be home.

To report any sign of theft or suspicious activity, call the Corvallis Police Department at 541-766-6924.

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