How to prevent thieves from snagging your holiday gifts

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — You may have ordered gifts online for the holidays, waiting anxiously for a box at your doorstep. But some Kern County residents find themselves robbed before they can rip open the wrapping paper. This is the first year more Americans bought Black Friday items online than in stores, and that means thousands could be waiting for packages. Unfortunately porch pirates could be lurking to grab your holiday gifts. A 17 News viewer sent us video of an incident that’s all too common.

“She came up to the doorbell and rang it to make sure that we were not home,” said Daniel Serdinsky, a Bakersfield resident. “Then she went to her vehicle which is in view of my ring, came back with a mask and a hoodie, and grabbed my package.”

His son ordered parts to build a computer, struggling to save up for the purchase.

“It’s a lot of money that was in the package,” said Serdinsky. “Some people work really really hard to get what they want, and it was just gone in a minute.” 

The Bakersfield Police Department says preparation can keep your packages safe.

“If you’re gonna order things that you’re not going to be home to receive, you can either request that there be a signature required before it is left,” said Rachel Rivera, a Community Relations Specialist for the Bakersfield Police Department. “If you order things through Amazon you can have them deliver things to a different location, maybe a store they partner with.”

A video camera outside your home could be more useful than you think.

“When you file a report with police there’s gonna be a website where you can update the footage to, and detectives can use that information to possibly track down a suspect,” said Rivera. “Sometimes even a sign in your yard indicating that you have surveillance can be enough for some criminals.”

The police department says you shouldn’t deal with theft alone if a porch pirates targets the PS5 on your doorstep.

“If something is stolen from your home, report it,’ said Rivera. “If we start to see a trend in an area we are able to position officers a bit more strategically in the area and hopefully catch the person. 

Experts say you should connect with your neighbors to protect each other from thieves. If someone steals from your home and you can still see them, call 911. If they’re gone already, call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111.

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