Uptown residents upset with frequent porch pirates

Tess Rowland

Shot of porch pirate taken on Andy Janes’s iPhone. He is angered that this is a common occurrence for himself and his neighbors.

Tess Ro

Shot of porch pirate taken on Andy Janes’s iPhone. He is angered that this is a common occurrence for himself and his neighbors.

Tess Rowland, Reporter

Porch pirates have been the public enemy making their presence known, especially during the holiday season, when busy shoppers are working their hardest to ensure they get every present they need. However, in New Orleans porch piracy is considered to be a common occurrence and some residents are fed up.

“Enough is enough,” said Uptown New Orleans resident Andy Janes.

On Jan. 7 around lunchtime, Andy and his wife Titine were having lunch when they heard the UPS delivery man drop off a package at their front door.

“The UPS guys all do a good job at not leaving a package out in the open- they’ll put behind the porch swing or the post, they usually ring the doorbell and off they go,” said Janes.

The two didn’t think much of it, until minutes later, they heard footsteps at their door. A man in a purple sweatshirt had grabbed their package. Janes quickly went outside to see the man taking off on his bicycle.

Janes acted quickly, got on his shoes and grabbed his car keys, while Titine looked out the window and tried to track the porch pirate down.

“I got my car keys and stopped at every block until I saw him, I tried to cut him off with my truck, he just looked at me like I was nuts,” said Janes.

Janes got out of his vehicle and began snapping photos of the suspect.

“I told him I wanted my stuff back, and that I knew he took it off my porch,” said Janes.

The suspect put up a fight and tried to deny that he had done it. When it was clear that Janes was not backing down, he gave Janes one of the items in the package, party hats for their granddaughter’s birthday party, but that wasn’t good enough for Janes.

“I asked what else was there, and if I could look in his bag, and he did not want me to,” said Janes.

That’s when the alleged porch pirate produced more items from the package like party rings, and makeup. Janes then threatened to call the police.

After the suspect pleaded, Janes sensed the possible danger that the porch pirate may be so bold to take his phone, so he drove off and pulled into a CVS with two NOPD officers sitting in their parked police unit.

“This is what really got my goat,” said Janes. “The policeman looked at me, deadpan, and said, ‘’What do you want me to do?’”

NOPD declined to give a statement, but LUPD Chief Todd Warren spoke on the issue of porch piracy in the area.

“I think they (NOPD) could be doing more if they weren’t so busy with other things,” said Warren.

In good conscious, Warren said he does not recommend chasing after an alleged porch pirate.

“However, I can’t say in that moment of anger I wouldn’t have done something like that myself,” said Warren.

Warren recommends being proactive about porch piracy and utilizing package storage containers like amazon lockers and P.O. boxes to ensure package safety. If these options are not available, he recommends sending packages to a place of work, or perhaps working out a pick up arrangement with neighbors.

Warren hopes NOPD will invest time in setting up bait package traps to catch porch pirates in the act.

As for Janes, he got most of his items he ordered back except for a Roku TV remote.

In the moment, Janes said he didn’t think about the man having a gun or even getting his stuff back. He was just mad, as this is now a common problem for himself and many of his neighbors in Uptown New Orleans.

“These guys are just hoping to get something good, and they are messing up people’s lives around them for no good reason, ” said Janes.

Looking back, Janes agreed that chasing down his porch pirate may not have been the wisest idea.

“We have two daughters that live Uptown, and they know better. Maybe I should’ve just followed him in my truck, snapped photos, and showed it to the police, but once I saw him all I wanted to do was give him a piece of my mind,” said Janes.