DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As we enter the holiday season, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be on the lookout for porch pirates.

They advise residents to turn to their neighbors for help or choose alternative delivery methods to avoid packages being stolen.

A Miamisburg woman captured the moment a package was stolen off her porch recently. She says the experience has changed how she manages her mail and she has a message for her thief. 

“He grabbed that package and he ran like the house was on fire. I was shocked,” she said. “Jiminy Christmas, was he stalking me? Was he following the truck? How in the world did he know that it was there that quickly? He had to have been watching from somewhere.”

She says a $75 item was stolen off her porch recently, and that experience changed her life.

“Every time I got a notification from that camera, I was in a panic to get out that door immediately,” said Anonymous Miamisburg Woman. “Or if I was away from home, I would say I have to go home because something was delivered and I would drive home at break-neck speed just to get it off the porch.”

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says they do expect the amount of stolen items off porches to increase due to the opportunities that the holiday season brings.

“They’re a thief, let’s call it what it is, a porch pirate that’s trespassing on property and taking something that’s not theirs without your permission is a thief and at some point a burglary as well,” said Chief Deputy Daryl Wilson. “Not knowing what’s in the package at the end of the day, they figure they didn’t pay for it so it’s a game if they don’t get caught.”

Chief Deputy Wilson advises residents to team up with neighbors, keep a watchful eye on their community and even change delivery methods to in-person pick up if possible to eliminate opportunities for thieves. Even after her package was stolen, the Miamisburg woman says she hopes her porch pirate stops immediately for his own safety.

“We have such an overreaction in our population anymore, I dont want some stupid kid to get killed if someone sees it on their camera and shoots them,” said Miamisburg woman. “You’re risking your life over something that’s seriously not worth it.”

The sheriff’s office says if you are suspicious of thefts occurring in your neighborhood, reach out to law enforcement immediately.