So-called porch pirates strike again this holiday season

Millions of packages are headed to homes across Iowa after a record-breaking Cyber Monday buying spree, but that also means police are anticipating an increase in porch pirates – thieves who steal packages and holiday gifts right off your porch.

West Des Moines police said they received their first complaint of the holiday season, and now they’re reminding Iowans to be on the lookout.

“Someone was aware a package arrived at their apartment, and they believe it was stolen,” said West Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Giampolo. “Just want (homeowners) to be more aware what’s going on when they order these packages.”

Police urge Iowans to be extra-vigilant.

“Be aware of different vehicles in your neighborhood, things like that, things that are out of place,” Giampolo said. “Just give us a call and we’ll come look around for you.”

Police said homeowners should consider installing a home security system to catch cooks on camera. But not everyone thinks about having their packages stolen.

“We don’t even think about a signature for it,” said Greg Farres, who has lived in West Des Moines for 25 years. “We just say leave it on the porch.”

Farres said it’s important that neighbors watch out for each other when those deliveries arrive.

“We have a lot of traffic on this street, so it could happen if somebody drives by and saw packages on the porch.

Neighbor Lindsay Brand had a delivery waiting when she got home Thursday.

“We ordered a timer for the Christmas tree,” Brand said.

As a big online shopper, Brand chooses a time frame for her deliveries to arrive.

“Every so often when you get that notification on your phone your package has arrived, it’s my first instinct to either go home and get that package or see if somebody can get it for me,” Brand said.

“It’s something to think about,” Farres said. “I’m glad I saw you out here, now you’re going to make me think.”

Police said you could also pick up your package in the store or have it delivered to your work.