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Washington County deputies use bait packages to catch porch pirates

Deputies in Washington County are taking matters into their own hands to catch package thieves this holiday season.

Posted: Nov 18, 2017 11:48 AM

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KGW) – The Washington County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on porch pirates thanks to a tracking device placed into a package.

The Bait Package Program is in its third year, says Detective Patrick Altiere.

The program works like this.

Deputies place a tracker in a box, and put that box on a porch. An unsuspecting crook comes along and steals the package.

Too bad for the thief, there is a GPS device inside the box.

"Hundreds of times a day, if you think about the entire metro area, there's people out there waiting for you to order gifts for your family, and loved one," says Detective Altiere. "They come and steal them from your porch before you have a change to get them."

He says suspects range from kids to more organized groups. He also says the program is working, in part, thanks to media coverage.

"There's a huge deterrent effect," he said. "We see drop-offs of 10 to 20 percent in package thefts from yards thefts, from mail, things like that. People get reminded that we are out here looking at this kind of stuff."

So what can you do to keep your packages safe? Deputies have some suggestions.
- Schedule your package to arrive when you are home, if that's possible.
- Use a service like Amazon Locker, or sent it to a retailer where you can pick it up.
- Have a neighbor pick it up, if you trust your neighbor.
- Invest in a security camera. If your package is stolen, at least there will be video of the suspect. Detectives can often recognize a suspect immediately, from the video.

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