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South Carolina police warn it's 'porch pirate' season

Law enforcement officers in Forest Acres, Swansea and Springdale say they see about 5-20 people filing claims due to porch pirates every holiday season.

SWANSEA, S.C. — Trucks are busy shipping deliveries this time of year all across the state of South Carolina, and police across the state are warning folks about porch pirates. 

Data shows porch pirates love to strike during the holidays.

Some grinchy people in years past have spent their days following UPS trucks to steal all the gifts. 

"It's usually two people that are driving. One driver and one person that'll jump out of the car and run up to the door and grab the box and jump in the car and take off," said Forest Acres patrol sergeant David Fancher.

Police warn residents to be on high alert, to be aware of your surroundings and to not let the busyness of the season distract you from letting your guard down. 

RELATED: 'I filled up a box full of dog poop': Porch pirate gets a stinky surprise

They suggest being home when your package is delivered or to have a neighbor or family member bring it inside or check on it.

You can also have the package shipped to your place of work, where the location is known to be safe and secure. 

During the daytime or in the middle of the night is when police say porch pirates typically strike. 

Make sure it needs to be signed for or have it delivered to a secure Amazon locker. 

"They have lockers set up in and throughout the community where they will go and put your package in a secure locker, let you know where that locker is located and you can go pick up your package there," said Swansea Police Chief Earl Williams. In Swansea, most residents come to the post office to pick up their packages.

RELATED: Amazon driver doubling as serial porch pirate charged in Missouri

Even police officers are keeping a close eye out for these gift thieves. 

"Actually right before I came here I went by my house and picked up a package and put it inside," Fancher said.

The last thing law enforcement officers want is for these types of misdemeanors to escalate. 

"It could be a package getting taken off a porch one day. Next day, it's the residents getting broken into or a vehicle being stolen," Williams said. "So, if we nip a lot of this misdemeanor level offenses in the bud per se, we can most definitely handle the larger and greater volume of crime." 

RELATED: Police: Porch pirate takes package, leaves 'thank you' note

The charges for this kind of crime include trespassing and/or petty larceny. That translates to a fine of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail. If it's grand larceny, that's over 30 days in jail. 

If you've fallen victim to a porch pirate, you can call local police or sheriff's office to file an incident report. 

If you're away from your home for a long period of time over the holidays this year, check with your local law enforcement about programs they have to check on your house while you're away. 

Swansea's chief of police tells us officers can drop by to make sure windows and doors are locked.

RELATED: 'She got the special surprise.' Family pranks porch pirate with dirty diapers

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