VERSAILLES, Ky. — Christmas at Brenda Stone’s house is just days away, but a real-life Grinch almost stole her holiday joy.
“When I got home, I was looking through my phone, and I saw that someone was on my doorstep,” explained Stone. She was watching her home’s surveillance video when she noticed the stranger poking around her porch.
“I just kept going back and looking at it, and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, She took my package!'”
The camera outside her home captured a porch pirate caught red-handed, leaving the house with unopened packages.
Stone’s kids posted the video to multiple Facebook groups, and within the hour, a slew of community comments and input had identified the thief.
“We're really fortunate here in Versailles that we don't see a lot of these incidents, but when we do, we have a very proactive citizenry,” said Assistant Police Chief Rob Young. He commended the community’s assistance, noting the power of social media when used for good.
According to Versailles Police, the porch pirate was arrested within a few hours of the initial Facebook post.
“They brought everything back to me that night, and I was just so excited,” said Stone.
The returned packages, full of Christmas presents, are now wrapped and ready for the grandkids to barrel through her front door come Saturday.
Her holiday headache had a happy ending, but many others won’t.
According to Security.org’s latest report, 19% of American adults had at least one delivery stolen in the year leading up to November 2021. Other studies anticipate this number rising as more people shop online and return to the office.
To avoid being a victim of stolen packages, Versailles Police recommends installing surveillance cameras, bringing boxes in as soon as they’re delivered, and opting for special delivery directions when given a chance.
“Federal Express, UPS, Amazon, Walmart…you can go on their websites and direct where packages should be delivered, whether that’s to a neighbor who's home all day or a garage on the side of the residence. That's something the public can do,” said Young.
Young also has a message for those on the other side of the porch.
“I would notify would-be porch pirates that it's a felony-level offense, it's no longer a misdemeanor, so punishment is up to five years in prison for stealing off someone's porch.”
He says it’s a significant risk for those trying to keep Christmas from coming. “They sure are Grinches, and Grinches can now face a felony.”