Two teens became unintentional trailblazers after guiding police with a series of boxes.
On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 7, a pair of teenagers, aged 17 and 16, drove around McFarland and Madison stealing packages off residential porches. Seven calls were made to the McFarland Police Department that day from 1:30-7 p.m.
The streets of homes affected are Little Bluestem Drive, Linden Parkway, Exchange Street, Johnson Street and Red Oak Trail.
The pair traveled to the north side of Siggelkow Road in the city of Madison jurisdiction where Madison Police Department officers stopped and identified the suspects.
They were released with six to seven charges of theft in McFarland.
The teenagers took the packages to their car to open them, police said. If they liked what was inside the box, they kept the merchandise and threw the box out of the window while driving. If they did not like it, they threw both the box and merchandise out the window.
While the thieves thought they were ridding themselves of unwanted items, they were really making a trail for police.
“We were actually out driving around looking for them, finding boxes that were empty or boxes that contained merchandise,” McFarland Police Department Lt. Brian Redman said.
Police also used surveillance video from a doorbell camera to match the description of the suspects and the vehicle to the teens.
Porch pirates are tricky to deter as people enjoy the convenience of packages delivered straight to their homes. Most of the time, no one needs to sign for these packages.
“People are ordering more and more stuff online, and that stuff gets delivered to homes in the middle of the day when most people are at work,” Redman said.
If an employer allows, Redman recommends having packages delivered to the workplace instead of the home so packages do not sit on the porch all day.
He added that some postal carriers have options for packages to be held at the facility for pickup.