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

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Routley left off the list of NDP cabinet ministers again

Premier Horgan opts for some newcomers in key positions over experienced MLA

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce has worked to support businesses throughout the pandemic. (File photo)
Ladysmith Chamber reflects on a challenging 2020

For small businesses looking to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 one… Continue reading

49th parallel was an early adopter of Plexiglas shields, and required staff to wear face masks. (49th Parallel photo)
49th Parallel continues to grow in spite of pandemic

The biggest challenge of the pandemic has been keeping shelves stocked at 49th Parallel stores

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MacGregor to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MP’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read