Officials warn of "porch pirates" this holiday

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - You might not be the only one on the lookout for packages you ordered on Cyber Monday. Police are warning people to beware of "porch pirates" wanting to swipe your packages.

People warn of "porch pirates" looking to swipe your packages this holiday.

The latest report from Adobe Analytics shows online sales from Cyber Monday reached a record breaking amount of more than $9 billion. That means more packages will be sitting on doorsteps around the neighborhood, which can catch the gaze of those porch pirates.

Police across the Tri-Cities said porch thefts are traditionally an issue.

"I think over the last few years it's been pretty steady. We have a few every holiday season that are stolen from front porches," said Capt. Mike Doremus, Hastings Police Department.

Hastings police said they've had one report of a stolen package so far this week.

Grand Island police said they've had 36 reported porch thefts since January, which includes stolen items out of mailboxes. They said they had reports of six stolen packages off porches in November alone.

"If they see someone walking door to door that doesn't belong there, they're not necessarily making contact with their neighbor's door or their door, that kind of raises a red flag. So something like that, maybe give law enforcement a call so we can check them out to see if they're a solicitor, or are just up to no good," Doremus said.

Kearney police said they didn't have exact numbers of reported packages stolen off porches, but said they do get reports like that this time of year.

But there are some ways to prevent this, even before your item has shipped.

"Something as simple as opting in for in-store or curb-side pickup," said Angelica Fonseca, an in-home advisor for Best Buy. "You can also ship to your office, ship to a family member's house who is home more often than none. You can also sign up for text message updates through a carrier like UPS or Fed-ex."

You can also get a video doorbell, so you can see who's at your door, or a device that'll let a delivery driver into your garage to drop packages off there.

"There's more and more packages being delivered nation-wide, and (they) are smart, so we need to be ten times smarter," Fonseca said.

Police said if you see something that doesn't look right, or had a package stolen, you should report it to the police department.