Logan ‘Porch Pirate’ Sting Makes Surprise Catch

Dec 11, 2020, 6:13 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

LOGAN, Utah – A county-wide sting to catch criminals turned up surprising results in the Cache Valley. Officers went out looking for bad guys, but instead found good Samaritans.

These operations are common, especially during the holidays. Police leave valuable items in plain sight and wait for someone to show up and try to steal them. It happens every year as Christmas time becomes an opportunity for thieves.

“People are getting packages delivered. Black Friday, a lot of things getting picked up and in different vehicles, as people travel to different stores,” said Lt. Brad Franke with the Logan Police Department.

Franke said 40 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers helped during the county-wide operation with a dozen focused on the shopping areas. 

“So we wanted to try to test it and send a message out to our community that we’re watching and that we’re concerned about making sure your stuff’s safe,” Franke said.

They left stuff out in plain view, like TV boxes in the back of trucks, and other big items. Then they waited.

“Nobody even looked twice at it. They just walked on by and entered the store to get their own stuff,” he said.

Not one bite.

“About half-way through, our officers were just incredulous,” Franke said.

Logan Police Lieutenant Brad Franke said finding so many good people during their sting was refreshing. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) One of the purses that was returned rather than stolen during the sting operation. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

They also left out a number of purses with an unexpected result.

“Our purses were picked up 18 times and taken into the store to be turned in,” Franke said. “They could not believe how awesome people are in this valley – that over and over and over the stuff was just returned.”

Franke called that a nice change.

“Certainly, in law enforcement, we get to see the negative aspects. We see a lot of property crimes. We see a lot of thefts,” Franke added. “But here in Cache Valley, here in Utah, you know the vast, vast majority of people are good, honest, ethical people.”

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be careful. Be sure to lock up your gifts and belongings. In the meantime, Lieutenant Franke said his officers will be on the lookout.

“If you see a package on somebody’s step, leave it alone, because maybe we’re there around the corner watching,” Franke said.

Officers were checking warrants, sex offenders, and others during the operation. They made eleven arrests.

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Logan ‘Porch Pirate’ Sting Makes Surprise Catch