Windsor man frustrated with porch pirates takes matter into his own hands

·3 min read
Tom Ridsdale, who lives in Sandwich Towne, says over the years people have stolen countless packages from his front door. Now he says he's found a way to teach them a lesson. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)
Tom Ridsdale, who lives in Sandwich Towne, says over the years people have stolen countless packages from his front door. Now he says he's found a way to teach them a lesson. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)

Years of having countless packages stolen from his front door in Sandwich Towne, Tom Ridsdale has decided to take matters into his own hands.

"I started filling the boxes with things they wouldn't be happy to find," Ridsdale said with a laugh, adding that to teach the porch pirates a lesson, he's started placing fake packages with dog feces, rotten food and garbage outside his door. He can then see who takes the boxes through his surveillance camera.

And while his solution may be unique, his problem isn't.

Windsor police say they've seen an increase of related cases over the year and so have the Ontario Provincial Police.

"We have more people who have been home doing a lot of their shopping online, which means deliveries show up at their front doors and porch pirates are notorious. We've seen cases where some will literally follow the courier truck around the neighbourhood," said Bill Dickson, acting manager of media relations with the OPP.

Ridsdale said he believes his home is an easy target because it is directly off of a public sidewalk and doesn't have a gate or any other barrier separating it from the street.

And while he may not like it, moving isn't an option, he said.

He said he's on disability supports and has limited income. Ridsdale said he was homeless before moving in to the apartment.

"I want to spread the word that these people, they feel they need to steal, you don't need to steal. There are people out there that will help," he said.

"Do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you and I would never steal from anybody because I know how that feels, that hurts. Just the mistrust and now the insecurity of not knowing to what extreme are they going to go."

Talya Natyshak, with Windsor police corporate communications unit, says police encourage people to report these incidents so that they can be investigated.
Talya Natyshak, with Windsor police corporate communications unit, says police encourage people to report these incidents so that they can be investigated.(Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Report incidents: Windsor police

But Windsor police say what Ridsdale is doing isn't the best way to discourage porch pirates.

"We don't encourage people to take things into their own hands," said Windsor police corporate communications Const. Talya Natyshak. "We always want it reported to the police so that we can investigate it to the best of our ability."

She said the more people report these sorts of incidents, it will help police keep track of which neighbourhoods are targeted and allow them to properly investigate the situation.

But she added that this sort of crime is preventable and there are ways for people to reduce this sort of activity, such as installing video cameras, carefully tracking packages and having a neighbour or friend grab the item if you're out and asking a delivery person to hide the package behind furniture or under a blanket.

Yet Ridsdale says despite reporting the incidents to police, nothing seems to come of it.

For now, he said he hopes his special packages will drive the thieves away.