NEWBURYPORT — A Haverhill woman dubbed a “porch pirate” by local police when she was caught on video snatching a package from a residence last December pleaded guilty to a larceny charge Wednesday and was sentenced to a year’s probation.
Ingrit Girondi, 40, of Worcester Street, Haverhill, was also ordered to pay $60 restitution to her victim and pay a $50 fine.
Police responded to a Merrimac Street home on Dec. 29, after a resident said that while away on vacation a woman stole an Amazon package from his front door. She then got into a gray sedan parked on Jefferson Street and drove off. The theft was caught on a home security camera and the resident was alerted.
The items stolen from the box were inexpensive but the victim went to police to “end the pervasive problem with ‘porch pirates,’” Newburyport police Officer Charles Vorderis wrote in his report.
The videos were forwarded to Inspector Chris McDonald who began an investigation into the incident and other reports of porch piracy.
Days later, McDonald received word that the gray sedan was spotted on Green Street near the Currier Inn. McDonald drove to Green Street and waited until Girondi got into her car and drove off. He then followed her until she failed to use a direction signal when changing lanes and then pulled her over on the Route 1 northbound ramp off Merrimac Street.
McDonald told her he stopped her because she did not use a direction signal as required but also told her he was “investigating another matter” and showed her a photo of her on Merrimac Street.
“Ms. Girondi was asked if she took any packages from that residence and she stated that she did not,” McDonald wrote in his report.
However, Girondi’s appearance was “very similar” to the photo of her on Merrimac Street, including the same jacket and hairstyle. A cooperative Girondi agreed to let McDonald take her photo with his phone before he let her leave the scene. McDonald then tried to tie Girondi to other reported porch thefts around the same area but was unable to do so.
McDonald felt he had enough evidence to summons Girondi to court on a larceny under $1,200 charge, according to his report.
In recent years homeowners have installed video security cameras to watch their front doors. Porch pirates are a nationwide problem buoyed by more people ordering items online as a result of COVID-19 concerns. But with camera technology improving dramatically over the last few years, more of them are caught on video, McDonald said.
Consumer Reports offers these tips for avoiding package theft:
Install a video camera on the porch or in your doorbell.
Give your delivery driver specific instructions to deliver packages on back porches.
Sign up for tracking alerts so you know when packages have arrived.
Require a signature when ordering.
Pick an alternative delivery destination such as an office, a trusted neighbor or a post office box.
Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.