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Package thefts on the rise as people social distance by online shopping

Conway police say porch pirates are out and about and showing no mercy during these already difficult times.

CONWAY, Ark. — Porch Pirates are out and about showing no mercy during these hard times.

With more people shopping online to avoid the public during the COVID-19 crisis, package thefts are on the rise.

The Conway Police Department warns residents of recent porch pirates.

The department shared a security camera shot of a person they say skimmed through the Centennial Valley neighborhood in a matter of seconds stealing several packages.

“When they saw a package, someone would get out of that vehicle and grab the package off people’s porches,” said LaTesha Woodruff, CPD public information officer.

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“We've got reports of this happening in other parts of Conway as well. It’s surprising because most people are home now.”

It's not just a problem for people living in Conway— other departments across central Arkansas are experiencing the same.

“We've had a handful in the past few weeks or so,” said Tyler Gaunt, Sherwood Police Department’s public information officer.  

Sherwood police said not only have they seen a spike in package thefts, but the thieves themselves are getting quicker at the crime they are committing, giving you less time to walk outside and grab your package.

“We got a call about a car following a FedEx truck,” said Gaunt. “We got on location and we didn't find the actual car, but when we took the theft report they had actually put an empty package in the place of the package they stole.”

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Police encourage you to get text alerts from the package sender, have your package sent to your work or someone you know is home, or request your package delivery require a signature.

"We are hoping this is just a blip on the radar screen and not a trend that will continue,” said Gaunt.

If you have any information about the Conway package thefts, contact the police department at 501-450-6120.