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Columbia police give tips on how to protect packages against ‘porch pirates’


The Amazon delivery station in Ashland has already started to see a seasonal increase in Mid-Missouri packages.

With the holidays getting closer, the station said it expects more than 1 million boxes to be delivered from October-January. 

Aaron Ponder -- owner of Frontline Logistics -- partnered with the facility when it opened five months ago. Once packages are ready for delivery, his team’s role is to get them to the customers.

“This is our first peak season not only for our company, but also for the warehouse too. There's a lot of challenges that we're facing, but we're working as a team to overcome those,” Ponder said. “We run operations seven days a week so there is an increased delivery time for those customers. Right now, we're delivering close to 10,000 packages a day. That's just our company.”

The warehouse is averaging 25,000 deliveries a day, the operations manager of the facility said.

Most packages make it to their destinations in the middle of the day, when many people are away for work. Often, that’s when “porch pirates” steal boxes from doorsteps.

Sgt. Neal Sedgwick, of the Columbia Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, said those thefts happen about 10 times a month in the city, but it picks up during the holiday season.

“Suspects know that Christmas time comes around,'' Sedgwick said. “People are going to start getting more deliveries as online shopping is more popular now.” 

When porch piracy happens, officers usually go door-to-door and use footage from doorbell systems or security cameras to find a suspect. Occasionally, they’ll check local pawn shops and online listings for the stolen items he added.

Depending on how valuable the package is, thieves could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor. 

“I tell my drivers to make sure they're delivering to the right address and putting them on the front porch and taking a picture,” Phillip Granger, an Amazon delivery service partner with IP Focus Logistics said. “So once they take that picture the customer would know that their package has arrived and they can come out and get it immediately. Hopefully that's the best solution that we can give.”

Not everyone is home when they get the notification, but planning ahead of time can help.
“It's not a surprise when you get a package delivered,” Sedgwick added. “If you can coordinate with a friend or a family member and say, ‘Hey, I'm getting a package that's supposed to be here today at three or whatever, can you come by and grab it for me.' That's gonna mitigate a lot of the thefts.”

Article Topic Follows: News
holiday scams
holiday shopping
online shopping

Abby Landwehr


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