HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The COVID pandemic has changed our shopping habits.

More of us are ordering things online, and that’s created renewed concerns about porch pirates.

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As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports, it happened in a flash. Two men can be seen in a surveillance video walking past the Christmas decorations and take several packages.

One of the two even noticed they were on camera.

“They have a Ring camera,” one of them said.

Suffolk County police say the same two targeted another home not far away. The move in, check if anyone is home, grab the packages and leave.

“If you see something that you think is out of the ordinary call us,” said Suffolk County Police Deputy Chief Matthew Lewis. “I think when it comes to deliveries if you’ve got something expensive being delivered, especially, make special arrangements if that’s possible.”

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Several people told Rincon there’s no excuse for this type of behavior.

“It’s just heartless behavior,” said Hauppauge resident Bill Stanatiedes. “The holiday season is the season of giving, not taking, Hopefully people will get what they deserve at the end.”

“I get times are tough and you might be off work because of corona or anything like that, but morally I don’t think it’s acceptable,” said Hauppauge resident Will Downey.

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The pandemic has caused a spike in deliveries, with people staying home. FedEx says compared to last year’s volume is up by 22%. UPS says it’s hiring more than 100,000 seasonal employees to deal with the surge.

And it’s not just Christmas gifts people are ordering.

“Also recognizing that some people get their pharmaceuticals delivered that way, to have that stolen off your front porch, off your front door is definitely problematic for those who need their prescription drugs,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.

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In New Jersey, Johnson helped draft legislation passed in committee this week that would stiffen the penalties for stealing packages: Up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $15,000.

In New York, porch pirates are hit with a misdemeanor.

“As it currently is that’s automatically released on your recognizance from the precinct absent other factors. So the deterrent might not quite be there right now,” Lewis said.

Police say they try to crack down on these sorts of crimes this time of year, but with more people wearing face masks, it does make it that much harder.

There’s a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, or online at by clicking here. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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