CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A strong warning to those who are expecting deliveries this holiday season.

Homeowners in Charlotte are already experiencing "porch pirates," which are strangers who come to your doorsteps and try to swipe your packages.


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One of the cases NBC Charlotte dug into took place in a Ballantyne home.

"It was kind of alarming to see this person linger and inspect our packages," said homeowner Constance Dyson.

The couple who lives in Ballantyne were among the latest victims of a Grinch who tried to steal Christmas. As they were miles away for the Thanksgiving holiday, their security camera caught the barefooted stranger brazenly snooping around their home.

"He came on the porch, picked up the package and looked like he was expecting it," said homeowner Khendr'a Reid. "Maybe to see what was in the package."

The couple's package was filled with important materials for the lovebird's upcoming ceremony. They were lucky the porch pirate left their package behind, yet the couple has a message for the suspect.

"You may not think people are watching you but more than likely, there's a camera watching you," Khendr'a said.

Did you know a whopping 23 million Americans have had their package stolen before them? A number that is expected to rise this holiday season.

Although homeowners have tried everything from security cameras to security guards, the technique for the thieves has not changed.

"Many thieves are following delivery truck around and simply waiting and watching for packages to see if they're received by the owner," said Laura Adams of

Companies like Amazon are getting ahead of the porch pirates by creating a key system. For $250, you get a webcam and smart lock allowing Amazon to place your package inside your home.

Or if you don't trust that method, keep it old school: have packages delivered to work, to a neighbor who will be home or only when you're home.

For the porch pirates out there, some of the packages you're eying could be bait. Police are known for placing packages with tracking devices on porches in hopes of catching thieves.