Mentor Police targets veranda pirates with GPS monitoring units

MENTOR, Ohio (WOIO) – As online shopping continues to grow, the home delivery business continues to grow, unfortunately opening up more options for criminals who steal packages in front of your home.

Mentor Police takes a unique approach to staying one step ahead of the criminals known as veranda pirates, and they’re spreading the word in hopes of keeping these crooks out of their town in the first place.

Mentor detectives place packages loaded with GPS devices on multiple verandas across town. When these parcels are moved, an alert is sent to the police, who can then track the parcels with their phone and then quickly make an arrest.

Police Mentor Sgt. Tim Nekic said that as the holidays approached, this type of crime would typically increase.

“I think we will have more online shopping and that will lend itself to more theft of parcels, so we are trying to address the whole problem,” said Nekic.

The city reached out to several families across the city who had cameras registered with the city and asked if they would volunteer for detectives to place the GPS-loaded packages on their porch.

“That way, in addition to the GPS tracking device, we have videos of anyone approaching or taking these packages,” he said.

Nekic expects the program to be a great success but nonetheless said the best way to ensure that you do not fall victim to this type of crime is to be careful of any unusual activity in your neighborhood and to take care of your neighbors.

And, he said, make sure you know your delivery schedules.

“When tracking your parcels, the best thing to do is to have them removed as soon as possible once they’re on your porch,” Nekic said.

It is also a good idea, he said, to meet with a neighbor and agree to accept each other’s parcels if you see them outside.

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