Const. Brent Benbow standing next to Amazon packaging as he speaks to media in Prince George on Dec. 11, 2019. (Prince George RCMP handout)

Const. Brent Benbow standing next to Amazon packaging as he speaks to media in Prince George on Dec. 11, 2019. (Prince George RCMP handout)

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

‘Tis the season for porch pirates looking to ruin the holiday season one package at a time – but Mounties in Prince George are looking to curb those thefts in a first-in-Canada “bait package” program.

Prince George RCMP announced this week that the detachment has been teaming up with e-commerce company Amazon to use decoy packages and surveillance technology to catch thieves in the city.

To date, police have placed these bait packages in 50 different locations, leading to three investigations. A 37-year-old man, a resident of Prince George, is facing possible charges, police said in a statement.

“Our hope is that this initiative will lead to many more arrests of persons looking to ruin the holidays for families in our community,” said Const. Brent Benbow, the officer leading the new initiative.

The concept of bait packages has never before been used to combat this particular kind of theft, but has been piloted to catch shoplifters and other thieves. Surrey RCMP used “holiday bait packages” filled with electronics and jewelry at local malls last December, garnering the arrest of three men during a five-day trial – as well as a number of Good Samaritans who tried to return the decoy shopping bags.

Meanwhile, porch pirates continue to be a chronic problem around the country – especially during the holidays when an exponential amount of purchases are delivered to doorsteps.

RCMP are urging people to use caution, and are offering a number of tips:

  • Make sure you are on a legitimate website.
  • Use pay pal or a small balance credit card for purchases. Do not give out credit card numbers verbally.
  • Do not click on a link because it is a super good deal.
  • Suspicious websites have non-operating front page links.
  • Before you purchase, search the store online to see if it has been the victim of a scam or has bad feedback.
  • Be on the lookout for cheaper product clones sold online, pretending to be from a major supplier or brand name.
  • Look out for fake coupons.
  • Stick with businesses that you trust.
  • Have your packages requiring tracking and signature.
  • If you are unable to be home at the time of delivery, consider having items delivered to locations where someone will receive them. Relatives, friends, businesses or directly to a local post office for pick-up at our convenience.
  • Check and remove contents of community mailbox locations daily.
  • Have shipping insurance.
  • Keep packages out of site in your vehicles.
  • Be careful who you share your shopping successes with.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Burnsview Secondary in a Google Streetview photo.
UPDATE: Knife recovered after schoolyard stabbing in North Delta

One teen now out of hospital, and other has been released to custody of family with conditions

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

Dyllan Petrin is charged related to an ongoing investigation in Surrey involving a kidnapping and assault that occurred in July, 2019. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Man arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder investigations: Surrey RCMP

Police say Dyllan Petrin was arrested in Vancouver

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read