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December a time for Grinches and pandemic porch pirates, B.C. group warns

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers warns about porch pirates' Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers warns about porch pirates
It's peak season for Christmas deliveries and as Catherine Urquhart reports, an increase in online shopping during the pandemic means parcel theft is rampant – Dec 15, 2020

With the holidays approaching, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is warning of Grinches and porch pirates taking advantage of the rise in home deliveries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the Christmas period we oftentimes are staying inside and we put our guard down — unfortunately, the crooks do not,” Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers executive director Linda Annis said Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Protecting yourself from porch pirates' Protecting yourself from porch pirates
Protecting yourself from porch pirates – Dec 3, 2020

“They’re watching your house. They’re watching for anything that could make your house vulnerable to them, breaking in and stealing your goods.”

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Unattended parcels are an easy target for criminals, some of whom reportedly follow shipping trucks as they unload merchandise at the doorstep, Annis said.

Click to play video: 'Battling ‘porch pirates’ while online shopping' Battling ‘porch pirates’ while online shopping
Battling ‘porch pirates’ while online shopping – Dec 2, 2019

To protect yourself from pandemic porch pirates, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers suggests not letting deliveries sit outside for too long, using home security video to watch for parcels, and guarding your garage door opener.

Read more: Some Grinch stole a 100-pound Grinch display from a Port Moody home

Annis said you should be careful about disposing of boxes that gifts came in.

“If you do get expensive gifts for Christmas like TVs or electronics, be sure not to just put the boxes out with your garbage,” she said.

“It’s an open invitation to someone that’s watching your home that you’ve just got a very expensive gift.”

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Read more: RCMP in Okanagan reminding public to protect against porch thieves

Residents should also keep their blinds closed so passersby can’t see have a look at what was under the Christmas tree.

“It’s a very serious problem,” Annis said. “The Grinch is the last guy that you want to see in your neighbourhood.”

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