Officers use bait boxes to lure porch pirates

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — An undercover operation in the South Sound aims to capture porch pirates this holiday season.

Postal inspectors are using bait boxes to stop thieves in their tracks by luring them in with the very boxes they’re out to steal.

Bait boxes are designed to look like any other packages. The difference is, officers are tracking the bait boxes, and they know the second someone grabs one.

“If you take them, you’re going to get arrested by us,” said John Wiegand, U.S. postal inspector.

Wiegand sees package thefts happen in every city every day.

“We see a lot of lot of these individuals that are then going to try to trade the product for either drug money, for drugs themselves, pawn them for cash, all those kind of things,” he said.

Using a bait box, officers captured a suspect in Olympia early Wednesday morning. The man was arrested and booked on a felony theft charge.

“You could be taking something from out of a child’s hand, a mom’s hand. It could be something of value, so knock it off,” said Wiegand.

This time of year, porch pirates are in their prime, which means your home could be next.

“I’d be super mad, really, really angry, because it might be for my kid or it might be for my husband, and I don’t want that kind of thing happening,” said Tinsa Fricke.

According to officers, people can protect their packages by having:

• a neighbor or friend pick up packages if you’re away.

• packages shipped to your business or work.

• the package held at the Post Office or UPS Store.