KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 11, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
A Ring doorbell and neighbors in the Stonelodge subdivision near Pattison Elementary spotted a porch thieves who stole at least one large package from a resident's porch. Neighbors tried to chase down the suspects and police were notified. Porch Piracy is now considered a federal crime.
Porch Pirates Hit Stonelodge Neighborhood
At 12:18 pm today, Wednesday September 11, a porch pirate was caught on a Ring doorbell as he stole packages from a home on Landimore Court in the Stonelodge subdivision. The suspect, seen in the opening picture, is a large, black male wearing a white tank. The suspect wore what appeared to be medical gloves and covered his face with a red rag. He wore red sneakers.
Neighbors Attempt to Find Pirates
The suspect got into a dark blue Hyundai Elantra circa 2011 model. At least two neighbors attempted to track them down to no avail, and the police were notified.
Victim Expresses Disappointment, Praise for Community
"We love the neighborhood we live in, and have always felt safe in this community," says Kim the porch pirate's victim. "It is disappointing to see this happen. Fortunately, what came out of this is a unified neighborhood! Our neighbors notified us what happened, and some of them immediately hopped in their cars or on their bikes and went around looking for the criminals. They never spotted them, but it says a lot about our community!"
Woman Seen Scouting Out Houses
What's different in this case is that just before the theft, the woman who was believed to be driving the get-away vehicle was caught on a Ring camera taking pictures of a neighboring home. You can see the vehicle pull up in front of the home during the video.
"I believe she is taking pictures of my Yale security lock," says the resident of the home where this video/image was taken.
Porch Piracy is Now a Federal Crime
Under the new House Bill 37, punishment for porch Piracy ranges from six months to 10 years in prison and includes a fine of between $4,000 and $10,000. In addition, charges can be upgraded for cases that include identity theft of disabled or elderly victims.
Constable Discusses Severity and Tips
"These crimes are serious and the charges should be appropriately serious too," said Constable Ted Heap. "Our deputies take pride in protecting the residents of our precinct from these thieves who have no right to steal from our homes and businesses."
Constable Heap offers these tips to help protect yourself from porch thieves: 1. Make Sure Someone is Home
Have someone home during the package delivery time. If not, ask the delivery driver to put the package in an inconspicuous place such as behind a plant. Thieves usually do a quick glance at front porches and don't get out to look around the home perimeter.
2. Deliver to a Neighbor
Have the package delivered to a trusted friend or family member who will be home the day of delivery.
3. Ask for Help
Have a trusted neighbor, who is home during the day, collect packages from your doorstep rather than letting them sit outside until you return. Most online retailers offer tracking services, so you can see when your orders are delivered.
4. Deliver to Work
If at work, have the package delivered to your workplace. 5. Deliver to an Apartment Office
If you live in an apartment, have your packages delivered to the front office, where you can
pick them up at your convenience.
6. Require a Signature
Request that online retailers require a signature when delivering a package. That will ensure that your deliveries don't sit on your doorstep for hours at a time.
7. Request a Hold
Have UPS and FedEx hold your packages at their facilities until you can pick them up.
8. Use Amazon Lockers
Amazon lockers are popping up in the area with four (4) locations now in Katy. Your package is delivered to the locker to be picked up at your convenience. The customer receives an email when it is delivered. Packages must be picked up within 3 days. 9. Report Theft
If your packages are stolen, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Ted Heap stated that all thefts should be reported to their office. Many people have cameras so if your home doesn't, chances are other cameras in the neighborhood caught the thief.
"We hope that this was an isolated incident, and that we can continue to order online without fear of porch pirates," says Kim. "Perhaps we will invest in additional cameras so that we can capture a license plate if there is a next time! I do hope the thieves enjoy the diapers and toilet paper that they got away with!"
If you have information on this theft please call the Harris County Sheriff's Office at 713-221-6000.