A couple living in southeast Calgary say they’re glad that they had a security camera trained on their front porch after it caught a porch pirate helping himself to a large parcel left unattended.

Jamie Frost and Hayley Erza order a lot of items online and Cyber Monday was a particularly big shopping day for them to pick up what they want for the holidays.

When Frost got home on Wednesday, he discovered parcel that had been put in their backyard that appeared to have been opened.

“We kind of assumed that it was a damaged parcel at first. When we started to go through and noticed that stuff was actually missing, we pulled up the footage and what do we see; a porch pirate,” said Erza.

Frost says that the security camera he installed begins recording whenever there is motion detected nearby.

“One is the UPS guy pulling up and dropping off the package, that’s normal, and five minutes later someone walks up, takes it into the backyard and then is seen walking back down the ramp with our stuff under his arm.”

Erza adds that she found it strange that the thief actually took steps to open up the parcel, out of sight from the street and go through it to steal the most expensive items.

They say that while the security of their home was never violated, it leaves them with an unsettling feeling.

“It’s an invasion. We do a lot of shopping online. Everything gets shipped here. It’s not a bad neighbourhood and nothing’s ever gone missing before. I’ve never put much thought into security for it, but it kinda hurt,” Frost says.

They reported the incident to Calgary police, who came and took photos of the scene and statements from the both of them.

Frost and Erza also handed over the footage, a crucial piece of evidence that they hope will help lead investigators to the suspect.

Sgt. Matt Baker, with the CPS Centralized Break and Enter Unit, says that parcel thefts are generally very rare in the city, but there is a marked increase during the holidays, particularly because of the higher than normal amount of deliveries.

He says there are a number of things that people can do to protect themselves from would-be thieves.

“There’s always the ability to track your package. Secondly, you can speak with a trusted neighbour and ask them to look after your package and remove it when it’s delivered. You can have a package delivered to a workplace where you know people are going to be. You also have the option to have it delivered to a store for a pickup at a later date.”

In the meantime, Frost and Erza decided to take further steps to ensure the safety of their home and any future deliveries, including buying an additional camera.

“I also want to have a secured storage area for parcels to be delivered that can be latched by the delivery person and can’t be opened until we get home,” Frost says.

It will still be a happy holiday at their house though. They say they have spoken with the retailer that they ordered from and the company has agreed to replace their items at no extra charge.

(With files from Kathy Le)