An estimated 26 million Americans have had a package delivered to their porch, only to discover it swiped by a dreaded package thief before they could bring it inside.
According to FOX 11, that means an estimated one out of every 12 Americans have become victims of so-called “porch pirates.” Some thieves have become incredibly brazen about it, too:
These Amazon box marauders have become so prevalent that local law enforcement agencies have turned to creative means in which to catch them in the act.
In several cities like Jersey City; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Hayward, California, police have partnered with Amazon.com to place fake boxes in front of homes to see who swipes them. GPS trackers are placed inside the packages to notify authorities when a box has been grabbed and where it’s headed.
The program was put in place after even the mayor of Jersey City had one of his packages pilfered. How quickly the sting operation worked blew everyone’s mind.
"We had a box out on the street for three minutes before it was taken," police Capt. James Crecco reported. "We thought it was a mistake at first."
The suspect was soon arrested.
One inventive man in Tacoma, Washington made national news when, frustrated by multiple package thefts from his front porch, he started booby-trapping fake boxes with a device that sets off a blank shotgun shell, the Seattle Times reported in 2016. Video evidence of The Blank Box device at work shows actual would-be thieves running for their lives after a loud blasting sound emits from the box. He is still selling the device on his website.
“I know it’s crude, but there’s nothing scarier than a 12-gauge,” inventor Jaireme Barrow commented.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool warned at the time that “If the would-be package thief is hurt in any way, the homeowner would be responsible.”
It’s clearly effective, though. Take a look at it in action: