NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The holidays celebrate the spirit of giving, but some people see a chance ripe for the taking.
A Norfolk woman is sharing her experience with porch pirates, hoping to prevent it from happening to someone else.
June Mitchell and her family have lived in Norfolk’s Park Place neighborhood for almost one year. She says she shops online frequently and has never had an issue with someone taking packages before.
“So it was definitely a shock to see that, because it’s not something we come to expect,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell and her family were out and about on Saturday, Nov. 27. Around noon, she got a notification on her phone that packages had been delivered. They arrived home around 6 p.m. and couldn’t find the packages.
That’s when they checked their security footage and were shocked by what they saw.
“It was infuriating,” said Mitchell. “At first, I wanted them to just bring our packages back, just extremely mad. The items themselves weren’t of high value, but the person who took them didn’t know that and they didn’t know our situation. What if we had been people just making ends meet and had saved up to order our child a Christmas present?”
They were gifts for their child, but Mitchell says they can be replaced.
However, she’s frustrated, which is why she wants this to serve as a warning to her neighbors.
“Just be a little more cautious during the season and maybe a little more quick to getting those packages inside,” Mitchell said.
10 On Your Side spoke with the Retail Alliance for advice.
“Porch pirates, they’re not going to go away, so we have to be smarter than them,” said Kylie Ross Sibert, VP of Corporate Communications for Retail Alliance. “We have to find those alternate ways to avoid getting things stolen from you, especially around this holiday season when you have some wonderful gifts coming in.”
Ross Sibert suggests sending packages to work, if possible, or taking advantage of buying online and picking up in-store. She says neighbors have to look out for one another.
“It’s working together, it’s the whole community is involved in this and it’s impacting everyone,” Ross Sibert said.
She also suggests shopping local, ordering online and picking up in-store, and investing in security cameras, if possible.
Norfolk police confirmed they are investigating this theft.
In speaking with other residents, 10 On Your Side has learned that it’s not just gifts that are being stolen; sometimes it’s items that are critical to people’s health.
10 On Your Side’s Madison Pearman will have more on that in her special report Monday on WAVY News 10 Today.