An alleged porch pirate charged after Vancouver police seized thousands of dollars worth of stolen Christmas presents from a Burnaby home earlier this month has been released from jail in time for the holidays.
James Donald Wood, 59, appeared in Vancouver Provincial Court Friday and was released on $2,000 bail with a $500 deposit.
Wood is accused of two counts of theft in connection with a Dec. 7 raid on a home in the 6700-block of Kitchener Street in Burnaby.
“I heard them say VPD were executing a search warrant,” neighbour Melvina Cadotte said.
“When I came out here, there were several police officers in the front and there were a couple back here.”
The VPD said its Property Crime Unit executed a search warrant after a month-long investigation into so-called porch pirates, and recovered Nike runners, golf clubs, scooters, tools and dozens of other would-be Christmas presents from the home.
“They took some bike parts but they tended to take a lot of stuff away in those Rubbermaid bins so I didn’t really see what was in there,” Cadotte said.
“I was quite surprised ’cause I saw it on the website that they recovered all these parcels, like golf clubs.”
Most of the gifts have since been returned to their rightful owners, according to Const. Tania Visintin, who said the holiday season brings a spike in parcel thefts every year.
“The porch pirates follow vans for Amazon, UPS, and other delivery companies, then steal packages from people’s doorsteps after drivers drop them off,” she said.
Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 7, 146 package thefts were reported to Vancouver police, almost half of them occurring in November alone.
Cadotte said the VPD visit is not the first time her neighbour’s home has been the subject of a police raid.
RCMP confirm they executed a search warrant at the same home on Nov. 18 in relation to vehicle break-in thefts in Burnaby.
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Mounties said they seized stolen property, including phones and bank cards from the address. That investigation is still ongoing and no charges have yet been laid.
Wood’s criminal history in B.C. includes convictions for break and enter, causing a person to use a forged document, mischief, possession of stolen property and possession of stolen property over $5,000, trafficking in stolen property, and possessing or using a stolen credit card.
“Aside from the bit of thievery they’re, you know, relatively OK neighbours,” Cadotte said.
Wood is scheduled to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court for an arraignment hearing on Jan. 18, 2023.