VIDEO: Porch pirates on the prowl in Tampa Bay this holiday season

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – You’re not the only one eagerly awaiting the arrival of your Christmas gifts this year.

A number of “porch pirates,” doing the Grinch’s work, are on the prowl in Tampa Bay this holiday season, and they’re ready to steal your packages.

A video shows a mother walk her bike up to the front door of a home where she’s about to steal a package. What is worse, there is a baby on the back of the bike seat!

“I really thought are you kidding me?” said the victim who chose not to be identified.

“What was really bothersome to me as a mother was that she had her child with her when she did it. And that was just sad to me to involve your child in that.”

Police said the mother, later identified as Kelly Story, came to the Windsor Park neighborhood, thumbed through a few packages and picked out what she wanted.

“Someone actually opening it, taking the stuff out, the packing slip fell out, she didn’t realize it, took the packages, two out of three,” said the victim. “I think the part that was really brazen was that she hung out afterwards. She was talking to all the neighbors, was riding her bike in the neighborhood for two days afterward, she was at a neighbor’s garage sale.”

Story was arrested, but another porch pirate is still on the loose. A video shows the pirate steal from a porch near Clearwater airport. Anyone with information on her identity is asked to call the department at 727-562-4242 or Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County at 1-800-873-TIPS.

The agency made the following suggestions to stop package thieves from ruining your holiday:

  • Have packages delivered to a business or friend’s house
  • Make sure someone has to sign for the package
  • Track your packages to have a better clue of when they’ll be dropped off
  • Have a neighbor grab them if you won’t be home.

Police are confident that doorbell cameras and home security cameras will help catch thieves this holiday season.

“They said it was amazing that I was able to get that on video. They never have such concrete evidence and it really was helpful in getting the packages back to me and arresting the person who did it.”

Follow Jana Jones on Facebook

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