Decoys part of Campbell police package theft crackdown

Several law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area are using bait packages to catch package thieves this holiday season and they're making arrests.

Campbell police said it’s not only a problem here but everywhere. Officers have strategically placed boxes in known hot spots throughout town. The program is not a secret. They hope it deters criminals from stealing.

When Yang Sun rushed home Monday afternoon, his package was nowhere in sight. He checked his Ring Camera App and watched a man in a hoodie take his box filled with clothes from Nordstrom. 

“He’s very comfortable doing this, like this is his own house,” said Sun.

Sun said the package was swiped eight minutes before he arrived to his San Jose home.

“I feel really frustrated because this is not even the first time this has happened to us,” said Sun.

His frustration is shared by so many online shoppers who are victims of package thefts.

“Don’t come to Campbell to steal,” said Dan Stromska of Campbell Police. “We have packages out there that are ready to be used in order to catch you.”

On Tuesday, KTVU rode along with Campbell Police as they showed us how their bait program works. The boxes look no different than a typical delivery package but inside is a GPS device to track its movement. Police get an alert when it's taken.

“It’s a very popular program and it's a good program,” said Stromska. “It doesn't utilize a lot of resources. It’s a simple GPS device. The GPS device does all the work.”

Officers work with community members to place packages on porches and then they wait.

“It is always surprising when a crime is committed that fast and right in front of you,” said Lt. John Torrez of Milpitas Police.

Alert Milpitas Police officers nabbed 37-year-old Flor Hernandez of San Jose. Hernandez is accused of stealing a bait package eight minutes after officers placed it on a doorstep. She’s now charged with grand theft and being an unlicensed driver.

“That’s interesting,” said Sun. “I’m almost thinking I should do that too.”

Sun said he's happy to hear police are being proactive with bait packages. He really wants the man who stole his packages to get caught.

“This is always happening,” said Sun. “We really want to stop them.”