POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — It took seven seconds for a porch pirate to pull up to a front door and steal a package.

Officials say it will only happen more often as the holiday season gets closer.

“I can’t believe anybody would do that, first off. That’s just a terrible thing to want to steal somebody else’s stuff and you don’t even know what it is. Why would you do that?” said David Santos.

Santos works at CJ Vapes & Lounge on New Tampa Highway in Lakeland. The owner of the store also manages apartments behind the store.

Often, residents have their packages delivered to the store.

“I’m guessing Amazon dropped it off after we were already closed and decided to just leave it on the doorstep,” said Santos.

In the morning hours of Oct. 27th, a porch pirate stole a resident’s package containing Crocs, authorities said.

Deputies have not located the suspect.

According to Santos, the resident is a pregnant woman who likely wanted more comfortable shoes to wear.

“Somebody else’s hard-earned money, it’s not yours. It’s wrong, obviously,” said Santos. “I can’t understand why anybody would risk their freedom over a pair of Crocs.”

If caught porch pirates could face theft or even burglary charges.

“Unfortunately with the holidays coming up, we’re probably gonna see a lot more of that,” said Brian Bruchey, a public information officer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office sees a spike in package thefts during the holiday season as people have gifts shipped to their homes.

To avoid these grinches stealing your stuff, Bruchey said, it’s important to have a plan.

“Maybe have your packages shipped to your place of business if they allow that there. Maybe if you know a neighbor that you trust a lot, is gonna be home maybe they can watch for the package or have the package shipped to your neighbor,” said Bruchey.

Amazon offers pick-up locations known as “Amazon Lockers,” where you can have your packages shipped.

FedEx customers can request packages be held at a secure location for pickup.

“You just have to plan ahead on these deliveries and do a little extra work to keep the bad guys from spoiling your holidays,” said Bruchey.

If anyone has information regarding the suspect or the crime, they are urged to contact Detective Wright at 863-577-1600, or at SWright@polksheriff.org. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers in one of four ways:

  • CALL 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)
  • DIAL **TIPS from your cell phone
  • VISIT www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”
  • DOWNLOAD the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.