Video doorbell alert leads homeowner to confront suspected porch pirate

A suspected porch pirate in Long Beach, California, got more than she bargained for recently when the owner of the property opened her front door and caught her red-handed.

Resident Shirah Booker noticed something was up when she looked at video footage streaming from her Ring video doorbell.

“I got a second chime that someone was coming up to my doorbell and by that time, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this looks kind of suspect … something’s happening,’ Booker told a local news outlet. “When I saw her grab the letter, I thought, ‘Oh, yeah. This is happening. This is going down, let’s go.’”

Footage (above) from the security camera clearly shows the suspect opening Booker’s mailbox and pulling out an envelope. After apparently peering directly into the camera, she starts opening the envelope, at which point Booker opens the front door and confronts the woman. After a brief scuffle on the doorstep — and a few choice words from Booker to express her dissatisfaction at finding someone going through her mailbox — the homeowner shoves the woman off her property.

Talking to reporters about the incident, Booker said: “Enough is enough, stop stealing our stuff, we work hard. You’re not coming around here doing this in this neighborhood.”

It’s a great example of how a smart doorbell can alert you to stuff happening outside your house. In Booker’s case, the Ring doorbell’s built-in motion detector prompted it to start recording as the suspect approached, allowing the homeowner, who happened to be indoors at the time, to check out what was happening right on the other side of the door.

The explosion of online shopping in recent years has offered porch pirates around the world rich pickings as they trawl neighborhoods in search of valuable packages.

A study last year suggested that up to 20% of online shoppers in the U.S. have suffered at the hands of criminals who nab delivered items left outside their property.

In a bid to stamp out the practice in a New Jersey suburb, local cops teamed up with Amazon in 2018 to launch a sting operation using video doorbells and GPS trackers placed inside decoy boxes. The fact that five arrests were made on the first day alone, with the first one coming within minutes of the operation’s launch, shows the extent of the porch-pirate problem.

In another effort to defeat the thieves, Amazon recently launched a service for Prime members called Amazon Day that lets you schedule delivery for a time when you know someone will be in to receive it.

Digital Trends offers some excellent tips on how to stop package thieves, with video doorbells like the Ring device among the suggestions. We also have a list of the best video doorbells on the market today.

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