WOOSTER, Ohio (WJW)- Porch pirates, be warned! Law enforcement in Wayne County is cracking down on package thieves this holiday season with the help of GPS trackers.
“Every year around this time we hear more and more calls going out of packages being delivered to a home while somebody is at work, and, ultimately, when those people get home, those packages have been stolen,” said Jason Waddell, director of the MEDWAT Drug Enforcement Agency.
Wednesday, the agency began deploying GPS tracking devices in decoy packages placed outside Wayne County homes.
“It's not just going to be in one area; it's not just going to be in one city. They're going to be all over the county, and you never know what you might pick up if you're one of these thieves out there targeting people,” Waddell said.
Waddell said the agency is using available GPS devices it has on hand for drug investigations that can be hidden in electronic equipment and packages.
“It might look like a TV; it might look like a camera or phone or something like that, but there's another surprise inside,” he said.
The device sends an alert when it's moved, allowing law enforcement to track its location, speed of travel and more, and then move in to make an arrest.
“When the box gets picked up, it alerts us; we can immediately start going that way,” Waddell said. “We don't have to locate them; we're going to know exactly where they are.”
He said it may also provide intelligence on drug activity tied to thefts and help investigators return stolen property.
“With any luck, if they've stolen off other porches, we'll be able to recover that property and get it back to rightful owners,” Waddell said.
He said he hopes it deters would-be porch pirates.
“If you do come and take our package, we want to catch you,” Waddell said.
There are also steps you can take to keep from falling victim:
-Install a doorbell camera with a warning sign;
-Have packages delivered to a secure location, such as your workplace;
-Schedule deliveries on a day you'll be home;
-Purchase a lock box that can be used for deliveries.