Would-be thieves find empty packages on Durham front porch

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Christmas Day is closing in and though there are "Santa, Stop Here," signs out on front porches, that doesn't mean everyone is welcome to stop by.

Porch pirates have unfortunately become holiday pests.

A woman living in downtown Durham had a series of unwanted visits recently. Her Ring doorbell camera captured not one, but two people walking up and checking to see whether there was anything worth taking.

"There are people out there that want to do no good. There are people out there that troll the neighborhoods," Garner Police Lt. Chris Clayton said.

In the Durham instance, the boxes stayed put. They were actually empty. The homeowner placed them on the front porch to be hauled away to the trash.

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Kate Fritts said she ordered a bunch of presents online this season and has been lucky so far. She works from home, does some dog-walking for her neighbors, and always keeps an eye out.

"I actually pick up my colleagues' packages and take them inside for them very often," she said.

An estimated 75 percent of packages are stolen during the day when people are at work and the average value range is between $50 and $100, according to a study by August Home.

Police recommend:

  • Shipping an item to a neighbor who is home that day
  • Selecting a designated drop-off location when placing the order
  • Mailing to work

"I know that when I order stuff for Christmas, I often have it delivered to work here, and that way I know there's someone who will take possession of it, and they'll give it to me and I can take it home," Clayton said.
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