Rip-Off Alert: Homeowner turns the tables on porch pirates

One homeowner is turning the tables on "porch pirates" (KSNV file)

You've heard of porch pirates, targeting homeowners.

One homeowner is turning the tables on the crooks and avoiding a rip-off.

"It was just before Christmas and I ordered a gift, some sporting equipment," said fraud victim David Webb.

Webb was given the estimated date of arrival, but then a few days later, he realized something was wrong.

"Wait a minute, the package hadn't shown up. I wonder what happened," said Webb.

It was easy for Webb to find out. He went online and learned it had been delivered at a specific date and time.

Thieves had struck his San Diego home, but they didn't realize Webb had a secret of his own.

He had installed a home surveillance camera system just weeks earlier.

"Went to that date and time and sure enough, I saw the package delivered. I saw the postal carrier come on the property, drop off the box and leave," said Webb. "They promptly walked up our driveway up to the front porch, picked up the package, walked off the property."

Webb took the video and posted it on a community website to warn his neighbors. He got a response in just a few hours.

"There are people in our neighborhood who said we recognize that person and in fact, he lives on the same street where we live, which was stunning to us," said Webb.

Webb immediately contacted police and postal inspectors.

Evidence quickly led to 20-year-old Javier Hanley, who lived in the neighborhood.

"They were interested in stealing what you had to see if they could use it. It was very disheartening," said Webb.

Postal inspectors say if you are expecting a package and won't be home, make arrangements to have someone else pick it up.

"Put a hold on your mail for a day or two, especially if you are out of town," said U.S. Postal Inspector Cory Bott.

Or ... decide on a hiding place with your postal carrier.

"If you've got any type of shrubbery or something that can conceal the package on the porch and make that as a request on the delivery to have it concealed behind something," said Bott.

Another option, request that your package will need to have someone sign for it. If you're not home, the carrier will not leave the package.

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