Richmond Fan residents concerned serial porch pirate is swiping packages

In Richmond, porch pirates are making off with valuable packages during the day and night.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 3:28 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A trio of Ring Doorbell cameras highlights the growing problem facing Richmond residents and police. Porch pirates are making off with valuable packages during the day and night.

“I’m aware that people talk about, and I’ve seen on Nextdoor where some packages have disappeared,” said Janice Olson, who lives in the Fan neighborhood.

Janice Olson has called Richmond home for the last 33 years. Living in the Fan, she remains vigilant.

“I think it helps if one is aware of what you ordered and when you might anticipate it so that one can anticipate it,” said Olson.

Richmond police say they’ve worked 469 package theft cases this year. It’s a type of crime that has been on the rise over the last seven years. In 2020, police dealt with 366 thefts, and they surpassed that number last year.

“Specifically, we started seeing the uptick around the COVID period, and since then, it really hasn’t trailed off at all,” said Lt. David Naoroz, Richmond Police Dept. “In fact, this year, compared to last year, we’ve had quite an increase.”

Police say they see many thefts at apartments and other buildings with an unattended common mail room.

But technology is helping in the fight to stop package thefts. Doorbells or surveillance cameras are catching the crooks in action. Police are sharing those videos with neighborhood groups hoping to identify any suspects.

Meanwhile, another issue for police is a 42% jump in vehicle thefts, mainly from unlocked car doors.

“You may not think a diaper bag is valuable; however, not everyone knows that’s a diaper bag and may think it has a laptop or some kind of electronic equipment,” said Lt. Naoroz.

Police urge residents to lock their car doors and not leave firearms in cars.

Detectives ask people to have a neighbor pick up a package or deliver it to work. Those caught could face larceny and trespassing charges.