Home NEWS Police/Fire Package Thieves Up Their Game – Local Police Up Theirs

Package Thieves Up Their Game – Local Police Up Theirs

Bad Guy's Sleigh. Photo: SRPD

As crime goes it has taken on the popularity of neighborhood sport – with family, groups of associates, boyfriends taking part with girlfriends.

“Doing a little shopping?” Photo: SRPD

The penalties for getting caught are almost the same as your chances of being caught – relatively low, and more and more people are cruising the streets to play Porch Roulette, taking the property of others and putting their ill-gotten gains under their own trees this Christmas.

Business is booming, so local police have upped their game: sowing decoy packages equipped with tracking devices in among the attractive parcels lingering on neighborhood porches and watching to see where they go.

Targets of opportunity. Photo: SRPD

In Walnut Creek Wednesday night, detectives tracked a purloined package taken from a bait car as its new owner made their way to a location in East County before closing in to recover the decoy and other items.

In San Ramon, Capt. Denton Carlson reports that his team was able to swoop in on an SUV stuffed with stolen packages after an alert homeowner called police to report that a woman had just taken them from her porch.

Police are making arrests and recovering goods, to be sure, but the bad guys are still hard at work, joining forces to make off with an estimated 1.7 million packages in America each day – with losses estimated in their neighborhood of $25 million.


  1. With a slap on the wrist, which is all they get in CA – a decoy is a waste of time and taxpayer money. They’ll be at it again the next day. What needs to happen is not leaving your package on your porch all day (a lot of alternatives) and UPS, Fed Ex, etc. needs to go back to making signature required deliveries. Leaving a package on the porch all day says “steal me” and all it does is feed the addiction of thieves. 1.7 million packages a day is absurd, and this is preventable. If delivery companies and homeowners wise up.

    • While we would agree that much can and possibly should be done to remove temptation from our porches and cars, etc. (the amount of valuable items folks leave behind when shopping, dining etc. astounds us) we would also argue that the use of decoys – packages, cars, officers – does have a mitigating effect.

      • Agree with both. But we need harsher penalties to be enforced against thieves otherwise what’s the point of catching them.

        • Yes! If deliveries needed signatures, people would be standing in line for hours. Even during the year, Amazon package deliveries are a lot. Maybe someone needs to invent a nice “locker” for the porch that looks cute but is easy for delivery people to put parcels in to keep them safe. The biggest problem is props 47 and 57 which make these crimes impossible to prosecute.

  2. In downtown Walnut Creek I hear the number of car break-ins and stolen cars have dropped down ever since WCPD deployed their decoy bait program.

    It sounds like fishing, so maybe if we get more decoy packages set up out there on our porches, we will either catch the fish or they will swim away.

    • I would never put decoy packages on my porch. I want criminals AWAY from our property, not on it. Putting decoy packages on your porch ATTRACTS thieves, and you want to DETER them.

      The number of car break-ins would decrease if people didn’t foolishly leave valuables (or anything) in their vehicle. This isn’t breaking news.

      • I wouldn’t want criminals going to my property or thru our neighborhoods either, but it seems they are…

        I’m only saying … if a decoy package, placed by law enforcement make an arrest each time it’s stolen… then maybe we need more of these decoy packages placed on our porches to help fight the 1.7 million packages taken every day.

        • And how much is it going to cost us taxpayers to have law enforcement placing decoys… to the tune of 1.7 million packages? It makes more sense NOT to have packages on your porch, baiting criminals. Criminals succeed because too many people don’t understand how to outsmart them.

          You can keep package thieves off your porch by not leaving any packages on your porch all day. It really is that simple.

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