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PORCH pirates are facing a new crackdown as cops roll out a sneaky anti-theft measure to combat theft of Christmas presents.
As the holidays approach, thieves are targeting pricey packages but cops came up with an innovative way to catch them.
This year, the Sacramento Police Department in California rolled out a new “bait package program” that uses technology to help catch thieves.
Cops first fill recycled Amazon boxes with expensive items, from power inverters and iPads to luxury bags, according to local NBC outlet KCRA.
Inside the package is a hidden tracker that works similarly to the “Find My” app on an iPhone.
As soon as the box is moved from the original spot the police placed it in, dispatchers are notified and send a cop to track down the thief.
“A lot of times, they’re in shock because they don’t realize they’ve been tracked from the moment they took this package,” said Sacramento Police’s Conner Jensen.
“They could have taken 10 different turns and they have no idea.”
The tracker gives real-time updates of the porch pirate’s location, increasing the chances that they’ll be caught.
And once they’re in custody, porch pirates could be sent to jail.
Thieves are charged depending on the price of the items inside the bait package.
Stealing a package worth $950 or more is a felony and the thief could be sentenced to jail time.
If the porch pirate took a less expensive item, they’ll likely get a ticket and be required to attend court.
A police department spokesperson told KCRA that the bait package program has been activated seven times since November 1.
One thief was hit with a felony arrest while three others were handed misdemeanor charges.
Three other porch pirates got away.
Police are encouraging residents to report stolen packages to them so they can use the information to track theft hot spots around the area.
The U.S. Sun previously reported a similar story where a porch pirate was caught on a ring doorbell camera.
The homeowner who caught the thief on camera issued a warning to residents.
“Hi! If you want to give County Street a heads up: this old lady is stealing packages,” Jill Carmel told the New Bedford Guide.