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Utah family uses GPS tracker to catch porch pirate

Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 14:52:51-05

PROVO, Utah — A suspected package thief is behind bars after allegedly stealing a package with a GPS tracking device inside.

Justin Bankhead has lost several packages to thieves.

“We had two packages stolen in the past week,” he said.

After having several hundred dollars worth of items stolen, he offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest of a person caught on surveillance video taking a package.

Justin’s son took him up on the offer.

“I didn't care until I heard about the bounty,” 14-year-old Cody Bankhead said.

Cody placed a box outside the family home. Inside the box was an activated GPS tracking device.

Early Monday morning, surveillance video captured the moment when a man drove up to the house, raced up the stairs, and ran off with the cardboard box — unaware of what was inside.

After realizing that someone had taken the box, Cody told his father.

They pulled up the tracking information and called the police.

“I don't think he had any clue that he had this coming,” Justin said.

Moments later, the suspect was arrested.

“Everyone has these frustrations of these guys running around in neighborhoods having a free-for-all,” Justin said.

He made good on his promise and paid his son the reward money — a small price to pay to send a message to any would-be package thieves.

“If you're going out there, you are going to get caught. People are smarting up,” Justin said.

Provo Police say they took the suspect into custody and then transferred him to Orem Police.

They advise people who do something like this never to put themselves in a dangerous situation.

John Franchi at KSTU first reported this story.