Crime Stoppers Corner – Beware The Porch Pirate

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Crime Stoppers Corner

Online shopping for the gift-giving season has been widely accepted for a couple of years and the impact of COVID-19 has only increased the convenience for residents of the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington.

With the holidays approaching, it will be high season for the latest incarnation of criminal; the Porch Pirate.

That’s right, with a spring in their step and free merchandise in their sights, these unscrupulous individuals will take any packages left at the door. Is it a high-powered blender? A dog bed? Vital medication for a child? It does not matter to these people. They will take the packages and sprint off to keep, or more likely, sell the more desirable items on your local online marketplace.

One in four people are victims of package theft. As disappointing as it is for online shoppers, this is costly crime for merchants as well as delivery companies. There are steps you can take to reduce the chance of being a victim of parcel theft.

  1. Track your package – most delivery services & merchants off this function
  2. Select delivery to the store – for many larger stores, you can order online and have the item shipped to the store instead of your home
  3. Install a monitor system that will advise you when a package is delivered so you can make arrangements to collect it promptly
  4. Indicate “signature on delivery” for your packages so you know it arrives and is brought into your home.
  5. If you are able to take deliveries at work, arrange to do so. Or see if an available family member will take the delivery at their home.
  6. Shop locally and check to see what delivery and pickup options there are for merchants in your neighborhood
In many cases, these parcels are stolen so the contents can be sold in online marketplaces. Be careful to ensure you are not purchasing stolen property obtained by parcel theft by asking questions and researching the product. In some cases, important items such as medication are stolen and can interfere with the health and wellbeing of the intended recipient.

If you are the victim of parcel theft, please ensure you report the crime to police, as well as the merchant. If you know an individual who is committing these crimes, please contact Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington at 1-800-222-TIPS or online at You will never have to give your name or testify in court. If your information is used in an arrest, you maybe eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

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by Sarah Bowers-Peter
Program Coordinator
Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington

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