porch pirates toronto

Ontario police warn of increase in porch pirate package thefts

'Tis the season to be careful, about people stealing pa-cka-ges!

Okay so, we haven't technically entered the holiday season yet, but you wouldn't know it to look outside thanks to Sunday night's hefty Toronto snowfall. Another sign of the impending Christmas rush? An uptick in package deliveries.

Online shopping has nearly doubled in Canada since COVID-19 hit, and FedEx Canada is expecting an "unprecedented surge in shipping demand" this forthcoming holiday season as more people opt to buy gifts online.

With condo concierges already drowning in daily package deliveries, things could start to get complicated for Toronto residents ahead of the first pandemic-plagued Christmas — making the luxury of living in a detached home nice, albeit a bit more dangerous.

Ontario Provincial Police just issued a warning to notify people in the Caledon area of some recent package thefts from porches.

Once such porch pirate, as people who steal boxes left in front of homes have come to be known, managed to swipe a package worth $200, in broad daylight, while someone was inside the house.

porch pirates toronto

Ontario Provincial Police released this image of suspected porch pirate in the town of Caledon. Image via OPP handout.

Police say the alleged thief, who was wearing a Mickey Mouse jacket at the time of the incident, pulled up in front of the victim's residence in an old Honda Civic. He then got out of his car, walked up to the porch, grabbed the box and fled.

"As online shopping continues to grow, the opportunity for theft has risen significantly," reads a warning from the Caledon Detachment of the OPP.

"Most thefts occur during daylight hours – the theft of a package takes only seconds and usually involves one individual on foot, and a lookout in a vehicle nearby."

These types of thefts have become increasingly common in Toronto over the past few years thanks in large part to Amazon. With the city about to be inundated with packages of significant value — think Christmas gifts vs. bulk paper towel orders — police say it's important to be on the lookout.

Per the OPP, here's how to best-protect your deliveries:

  • Encourage your neighbours to watch for your deliveries and do the same for them;
  • Track deliveries online;
  • Remove packages from your porch quickly once they arrive;
  • Consider getting a BoxLock for your online deliveries to keep the packages safe;
  • Request to have packages delivered elsewhere if you are away from home for an extended period of time.
Lead photo by

Claudio Schwarz

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