The growing problem of so-called "porch pirates" stealing packages from the porches of homes was highlighted in the days leading up to Christmas, as thieves allegedly made away with an expensive supply of lifesaving medication meant for a young divorced father's 4-year-old son.
The crime in question took place last week, as a supply of anti-rejection drugs was stolen from the porch of 28-year-old Riverdale, Utah, resident Cody Taylor. People wrote on Saturday that the package was for Cody's young son Austin, who needs the medication to keep him alive after a kidney transplant.
In a Facebook post from August, Cody Taylor celebrated Austin's fourth birthday by talking about how fortunate the young boy was to have lived far beyond expectations after doctors gave him little chance to survive the stage 5 kidney failure he was born with.
"All the trials seem so small when we look at what he has done. He is taking, walking and eating. Three things the doctors said he would never do. He watches and learns, and tries so hard to [be] normal. This has been our smoothest year yet, with so much to look forward to."After receiving a kidney transplant at the age of 2, Austin Taylor now requires two types of daily medication so that his body doesn't reject the transplanted organ. These drugs are delivered every 90 days, with a Utah pharmacy sending them in a 20-pound brown box. Cody Taylor told People that he got a notification on Monday that a new supply had arrived, only for him to find out that porch pirates had apparently stolen the box, which contained a three-month supply worth about $7,500.
While single father Taylor, who works at a gas turbine engine company, was planning to go to the bank to request a loan to help him replace the stolen medicine, the pharmacy that shipped the package worked with Taylor's insurance company to shoulder the cost of a new supply of anti-rejection drugs.
Speaking to People, Taylor said that he isn't sure what motivated the alleged thieves to take his son's medication, but offered a few ideas as to why the package might have been targeted.
"People follow around the trucks this time of year hoping to get lucky," said Taylor.
"They probably thought it was something shiny…Maybe they thought it was something they could get high off."The problem Cody Taylor faced with his son's medication was one of the higher-profile examples of how porch pirates have become more commonplace in recent years, especially during the holiday season. The Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote that thieves are well aware of how online shopping has led to a greater number of packages being delivered and left unattended on front porches, allowing them to sneak in and steal the packages while the homeowners are out. Statistics from the United Parcel Service show that the company is expecting about 750 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, or about 5 percent more than last year's figure of over 712 million delivered.
According to an Insurance Quotes survey cited by People, about 26 million Americans had packages stolen from their porch or doorstep in 2016, an increase over the 23.5 million who reported such crimes in the year prior.
Meanwhile, homeowners around the U.S. are doing their part in dealing with the porch pirate problem, as a growing number of homes now have doorbell cameras and other "smart" security devices. These devices, which include those made by companies such as Samsung, Nest Labs, and Honeywell, allow people to see if anyone has been at their front door or front porch, even at times when they're away from home. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that the devices are also highly recommended by law enforcement officials, as images and security footage could help police officers determine if a porch pirate is a habitual offender, just like many of them tend to be.
Aside from underscoring the growing issue of porch pirates stealing from homes during the holiday season, Cody Taylor's story inspired a few kind acts from strangers, including a donation of about $600 worth of presents and gift cards. And with the replacement drugs "on their way" at the time of People's report, a company called the Porch Locker also reached out to Taylor to install a lock box, in hopes of preventing similar incidents from happening in the future.