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Beware of ‘porch pirates’ as Christmas nears: Alleged thief arrested for reportedly stealing packages with children’s toys from front porch

An alleged Ohio “porch pirate” is behind bars after reportedly stealing a package full of children’s toys from a family’s front porch.

WKBN reports that Daniel Stolz, 31, of Cincinnati, is accused of stealing two packages from the porch of a home, which, apparently unbeknownst to the suspect, had a surveillance camera installed. According to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, on Nov. 29, the homeowner noticed the theft while reviewing surveillance footage. He put the video on social media, which led to tips that helped police identify the suspect.

“The defendant stole Christmas gifts from people’s porches,” Municipal Judge Josh Berkowitz said on Tuesday, according to WKBN. “That’s a serious allegation.”

Stolz is currently behind bars on a $25,000 bond. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati police announced that they’re opening their offices for package delivery until people have the chance to stop by and pick them up. Norwood Police Chief Bill Kramer said another officer came up with the idea after reporting to the scene of another porch pirate incident.

Porch pirates are not exclusive to any city. Earlier this week in Wake Forest, North Carolina, two people were arrested after they reportedly stole items from porches and hid them in a pizza delivery car, ABC11 reports.

According to authorities, a tip led to the arrest of Rafael Perez, from Wake Forest, and Leticia Aldea-Flores, of Raleigh, after authorities pulled over the car and found numerous stolen packages inside the vehicle.

Both suspects were charged with seven counts of possession of stolen goods and six counts of larceny.

Protect Yourself from Porch Pirates

As Christmas nears, authorities feel there will likely be an uprise in porch pirate thefts. There are several things you can do, however, to protect yourself and your packages.

  • If you know you’ll be at work when a package is due for delivery, schedule your packages to be delivered to your place of employment, if possible.
  • If you can’t have your packages delivered to your place of employment, consider having packages delivered to trust family members and friends.
  • Go to your local post office and sign up for a P.O. box. Packages will be held there until you can pick them up.
  • Set up delivery alerts with the package carrier, such as UPS or FedEx. Also, require a signature before packages are left and arrange for someone to be at your home during scheduled delivery times.

[Feature Photo: Daniel Stolz/Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office]