Clinton Police Department kicks off “Operation Grinch” with porch pirate arrest

Local News

The Clinton Police Department launched a holiday initiative called “Operation Grinch” with the goal of catching “porch pirates”. Within the first day, the operation nabbed 19-year-old Doyal Wayne Phelps.

Thieves known as “porch pirates” are those that steal packages that don’t belong to them with the intent to take what is inside for themselves.

Those caught can be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Keeping “porch pirates” out of communities is what inspired the Clinton Police Department to start “Operation Grinch”.

Packages filled with unwanted items, like trash and a broken clock, were left on a porch of a house in Clinton. 

“The goal is to place packages on porches or businesses and do surveillance to see if anybody will take them. We hope nobody will take them,” said Clinton Police Department Chief Vaugh Becker. 

Officers then kept watch of the house, within four hours, made an arrest for theft. The suspect, Phelps, was seen taking the packages from the porch back to his own house in the same area, showing intent to open them to keep whatever was inside. 

“I didn’t have any idea what to expect, we put it in an area with a lot of traffic going by,” said Becker. 

It took four hours from the time the packages were placed to the time CPD officers arrested Phelps. Becker says he hopes potential thieves consider how quickly they could be caught before stealing any packages. 

Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

The Clinton Police Department shared ways that homeowners can keep their packages and their homes safe year round, but especially during the holidays: 

  • Keep gifts, cash & valuables well hidden so they can’t be seen or reached by thieves.
  • Lock doors & windows before leaving your residence.
  • Leave a light on in a room & draw curtains when you go out at night.
  • Cancel newspapers and other deliveries when our of town and away from home for an extended amount of time.

Clinton residents, like Anna Ridings, say she’s not worried about her packages being taken, because there’s usually someone at home.

She says she keeps her house locked when no one is home, especially around the holidays because there are more valuables in her house than usual. 

However, if someone wasn’t home she says she would be more concerned. 

House Watch Request

Clinton residents that would like to have their homes “watched” by the Clinton Police Department can sign up online or by calling 865-457-3112. 

The service is offered year-round and is free to Clinton residents.

If homeowners are heading out of town for the holidays, a specific date range for the service can be specified online. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter