Bangor residents are reporting an increase in “porch piracy” in recent weeks after thieves have filched packages and other items from people’s porches, sometimes in plain sight of cameras.

Jennifer Crane’s Ring home camera filmed one person taking three packages off her Jefferson Street porch and walking away on two separate occasions Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

Crane said the packages contained Christmas presents from family members in Virginia.

“This will be our third Christmas at this house, and this is the first year that we’ve ever had a problem,” she said. She’s working with the retailers to replace the packages.

Reports of package thefts prompted a warning from Bangor police Thursday to raise awareness about such thefts and urge residents to take precautions.

Anna McDormand, another Bangor resident, said that she’s had problems with people taking things off her porch without permission in the past few years since she moved to the Fairmount neighborhood in 2014.

Last month, someone took a couple of planters her mother had gifted her off her porch.

Someone also nabbed an election lawn sign she had put out for the November 2020 election, and another person stole a trash can full of dog feces off her porch. Earlier this year, her neighbor caught someone picking flowers in McDormand’s garden.

“I want to be supportive of our community and feel good about that,”  McDormand said, adding that she’s made concerted efforts to meet her neighbors and build a sense of community. “But it sucks when you just want to decorate your property and make it look nice and people just nab stuff all the time.”

Bangor police encourage anyone who recognizes the person in Crane’s video to come forward, while also stressing that package theft is common and advising people to find alternative arrangements to letting packages sit in plain view for long periods of time.  

“Sometimes, it may be best to have packages held for pick up instead of having them delivered,” Bangor police spokesperson Wade Betters said. “Try to develop relationships with your neighbors, and watch over each other’s property.”

Home surveillance systems like Ring and Nest are also inexpensive and easy to set up, providing homeowners with an added sense of security and alertness to potential intruders.

While it’s not a new phenomenon, “porch piracy” has become a concern during the pandemic as more people work from home and online shopping has surged.

Crane said she reported her packages as stolen, and that Bangor police responded quickly.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.