BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The holiday season is known to be the time when it's better to give than receive, but some folks in Baton Rouge are helping themselves to packages left outside front doors.
One homeowner caught a "porch pirate" in the act Tuesday afternoon along Wiltz Drive. The alleged thief can be seen in the video walking up the driveway to the front door and nabbing the package right off the homeowner's doorstep. The crime only took a few seconds, but what he did not know was the entire brazen burglary was caught on camera.
"Disgust was the main thing and then there's a level of anger," said homeowner, Kristan Gordon.
Gordon was not home at the time, but still cannot quite believe her package was stolen in broad daylight. "I could have very easily been laying on my sofa in my home and he walked up and invaded my privacy," said Gordon.
The homeowner says she first knew something was wrong when her order claimed to have been delivered, but no box was waiting on her front doorstep once she got home. After checking her security cameras, she knew she had been hit and immediately called police.
"It's an eye-opening experience and it's scary to say the least that someone could just walk up to your front door and take a package whether you're home or not," she added.
She tells 9News she is scared, not for her safety, but for what she might have had to do to protect herself, saying the cameras could have caught a much different scene. "I was afraid that I would have been put in a position to defend myself and it was going to be he or I, you know, with my personal property," said Gordon.
Sgt. L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department says these types of crimes happen all the time, but the holiday season makes any package outside a person's home a prime target. "Guys that are committing those type of crimes are actively looking for packages out in front of houses," said McKneely.
When expecting a package, there are ways homeowners can protect themselves. UPS suggests getting items sent to where the person is at their job, for example, or telling the delivery service exactly where they want the package left, like at your back door. Folks can even sign up for package alerts to let them know exactly when to expect a delivery.
McKneely says one of the best things folks can do though is arm themselves with cameras. He believes it goes a long way in helping police solve these random crimes of opportunity. "It's a tremendous asset and benefit to us in finding those suspects," he added.
While police are working to prevent such thefts, Gordon says she is changing her habits now and hopes others will as well. "I'd hate to see someone taken advantage of like I was," she said.
9News also reached out to FedEx for this story. They have partnered with certain drug stores to offer additional pick-up and d rop-off locations that residents can use for their packages. More information about that service can be found here.