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'Tis the season: Metro Detroit communities prepare for porch pirates

Posted at 11:27 PM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 23:27:22-05

'Tis the season for porch pirates. Police throughout metro Detroit have often warned residents about the uptick in package thefts from porches during the holiday season.

The city of Berkley in Oakland County has already reported a handful of incidents within the last few weeks.

“I got a notification that UPS was delivering a package and expected it to be here when I got home," said Berkley resident Matthew Hyman, who was watching the MAC Football Championship Game at Ford Field Saturday. "I came home around 4:30 and it was gone.”

Ring camera video from Hyman’s front porch showed proof his package was delivered at 1 p.m. on Saturday. But another video taken at 1:15 p.m. shows that package being stolen.

“I went back through the Ring app and saw, 'Oh. Fifteen minutes later, someone walked up and walked off with it,'” Hyman said. "The guy walked up the walkway here and took it right off the steps.”

With their face covered, the suspect stole lights and a ski jacket within seconds. Across Berkley, 7 Action News found plenty of packages sitting on porches in plain sight and police say more are being stolen in recent weeks.

“In Berkley recently, we've had four porch thefts," Detective Lt. Andrew Hadfield with the Berkley Police Department said. "We put a 'Be on the lookout' for residents to keep an eye out.”

Hadfield says they average about 50 package thefts per year. He recommends scheduling a delivery time for when you’ll be home or having someone pick up your package for you. You can also have it delivered to your work if possible, directly to the store or even an Amazon locker. He also says neighbors should keep an eye out.

“For the neighbors, if you see someone pull up, run up and grab a package and leave, give us a call because sometimes, they stay in the area and we’re able to capture them pretty quickly if you give us that notice,” Hadfield said.

Luckily for Hyman, he has that Ring camera, which captured the theft. It may not have saved his packages, but it's a big help for police when it comes to an investigation, even if not all details are visible.

“The video is huge for us and for the community," Hadfield said. "It gets everybody knowing what to look for and helps us in prosecution of cases when we’re able to tie several crimes within the city of Berkley, let alone the whole community.”

Hyman says the companies were able to re-end his packages for free but in the future, he plans to keep important deliveries off his front porch.

“You hear it on the news or you hear it on social media or whatever that this stuff is happening," Hyman said. "You never really think it’s going to happen to you until it happens to you.”

If you see anything suspicious or if this happens to you, be sure to contact your local police department.