St. Paul woman catches ‘porch pirate’ in the act of stealing kids bike

It was early in the evening on a weeknight. A quiet neighborhood just a few blocks from St. Paul’s Summit Avenue.

And Ana Perez’s older daughter opened their front door to catch a would-be porch thief in the act.

"She heard some rumbling on the porch," Ana told FOX 9. "My Ring (doorbell) didn’t go off, the battery was low. She was able to catch that though."

But the doorbell camera did record it all, showing a man pick up her younger daughter’s bike and scooter and begin to walk away. Seen in his hand, Ana says, is a stack of her neighbor’s mail.

"You can hear in the video that he was definitely not in the right state of mind. He was out there talking to himself a little bit," she said.

She shares this incident as a reminder that at any time of day, even with obvious cameras by the front door, whatever you may have on your front porch seems to be fair game for thieves.

"I don’t think they care what time of day it is at this point," she says. "Just that they have their mission and it’s out to take whatever they can."

Across the county, police departments report surging thefts from front porches, steadily rising right along with the jump in internet shopping.

One estimate put the number of packages stolen in 2023 at 113 million.

And police continue to warn consumers and go after the so-called "porch pirates."

Lakeville Police announced the arrest of a 37-year-old woman suspected in a string of thefts earlier this month in the northern part of that city.

When arrested, the suspect had 80 stolen items in her vehicle and police connected those to 30 victims.  They’ve spent the last few weeks returning all the stolen packages. Formal charges are expected after the Christmas holiday.

While the surge of deliveries, especially around the holidays, are the biggest targets, Ana Perez shared her experience to point out it’s not just packages you need to worry about.  Anything on your porch seems to be fair game.

"My hope is that people are taking the initiative to put their things away. Unfortunately that’s what time we’re in."