She put cat litter in an Amazon package, and a porch pirate stole it 40 minutes later

Laurie Pringle left a package full of cat litter in front of her Hamilton home for a recurring thief. The porch pirate took the bait.

Laurie Pringle, 54, said she has lost a dozen packages to porch pirates in Hamilton

After three years and roughly a dozen stolen packages, Laurie Pringle was fed up. Her neighbours were too.

Living in a row home on a busy downtown Hamilton street, the 54-year-old said she and her neighbours knew they had to do something to stop porch pirates from stealing any packages. So they plotted.

"We were chatting. I have a puppy, they have a German Shepherd, and we jokingly said, 'We should just fill it up with dog doo.' Of course, my little puppy couldn't fill a box if we waited a week," Pringle said.

And then she got a spur of the moment idea.

"While I was cleaning the cat litter, I thought, 'It wouldn't take much to fill a box with this stuff' and so I thought, 'You know, it's Christmas time and maybe I should help Santa with the naughty list, and instead of coal, we can give the porch pirates some cat crap.'"

She dumped the cat litter into the box, taped it up and left it outside her front door. She positioned the box so the Amazon logos stayed face up and would look like any other package.

Roughly 40 minutes later, a man walked up to her front step, picked up the package and left.

WATCH | Porch pirate steals planted package full of cat litter:

This porch pirate steals a package full of cat litter

2 years ago
Duration 0:10
Laurie Pringle planted a package full of cat litter for a routine package thief in front of her downtown Hamilton home. It was stolen in under 40 minutes.

Pringle's Ring doorbell video from last Thursday afternoon appears to show the man tucking the package — full of fecal matter — into his jacket before walking away.

"We did a happy dance and celebrated our just deserts," Pringle said. 

But she didn't report the theft to police. She said she lost confidence in them after their inability to prevent previous thefts. Instead, Pringle posted about it on social media, garnering praise and support from others.

"It just goes to show you how many people are frustrated by this."

Hamilton police launch Operation Ama-gone

Police in Niagara made an arrest on Wednesday after they say a man was stealing packages from porches.

In Hamilton, police launched Operation Ama-gone, which targets package delivery theft.

"It is generally repeat offenders," said Const. Krista-Lee Ernst. The operation, she said, has already yielded results.

She also said a lot of package thefts go unreported because of the built-in theft protocols from companies like Amazon.

"In order for Hamilton police to have the statistics and the report on file, we need those reports to still be reported to us," she said.

This is how Laurie Pringle left her Amazon package in front of her Hamilton home. She planted it for a porch pirate. They took the bait, but didn't realize cat litter was awaiting them when they opened the box. (Submitted by Laurie Pringle)

While people online praised Pringle's stunt, Ernst said others shouldn't do the same.

"We're not encouraging the public to engage in criminal activity because potentially [someone] could return to their house and they're identifying their home and residence," Ernst said.

"In this case, there was video evidence, something for police to move forward with in an investigation."

In the meantime, Pringle and her neighbours are preparing another special package for the culprit.

"I'm just waiting on our cat to restock our supplies."

Ernst said some of the tips to avoid package theft include:

  • Having your package delivered to your work.
  • Arranging deliveries to relatives or friends you know will be home.
  • Having the local post office hold your package.
  • Having your package shipped to a store.
  • Request a signature confirmation when your package arrives.
  • Ask carriers to place packages out of plain sight.