Amazon Police Sting Catches Neighborhood Thieves Using Fake Packages

CASTEL SAN GIOVANNI, ITALY - NOVEMBER 17: Parcels are processed and prepared for dispatch at the Amazon.com fulfillment centre in Amazon.com MPX5 fulfillment center on November 17, 2017 in Castel San Giovanni, Italy. Established in 2014, the 100.000 sq. metres warehouse employs a workforce of 1.600 people who processed 1.2 million items during the last Black Friday. (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

If you’re an online shopper, it’s not uncommon to get deliveries all throughout the week during the holiday season. Between online Black Friday deals, groceries and the occasional non-Amazon mailer, a lot can get left on your doorstep. Your Amazon Prime goodies are prime targets for neighborhood thieves. Now, one police precinct in Jersey City, New Jersey is working directly with services like Amazon to catch would-be hooligans in an Amazon police sting.

While some studies state that up to one in 12 Americans suffers from lost packaged goods, it’s hard to get exact statistics on the problem. Behind the scenes, Amazon does have statistics as to where thieves like to strike. They’re sharing that data with the Jersey police force to facilitate the sting operation. Police officers are packaging some fake boxes with GPS transponders. Others are under the watchful eye of a security camera. These marked packages are placed near the homes of police officers who volunteered to be a part of the operation.

The sting does appear to be working as well. In one drop, police captain James Crecco stated that it only took “three minutes” for a package to be picked up after it was set down at the delivery point. While the officers originally thought it was a computer error, they confirmed the theft and later arrested the subject.

While Amazon didn’t comment directly on the program, the company did say in a statement to the Associated Press that it did “appreciate the increased effort by local law enforcement to tackle package theft.”

Amazon itself has a program in the works called Amazon Key, which would bypass the vulnerable porch altogether by giving Amazon workers access to the customer’s home. This obviously raised some privacy concerns on social media. Still, it seems that the delivery giant is going ahead with the program in some metro areas. Amazon also stated that it would be happy to work with officers in other areas on future Amazon police stings.

Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images