Alleged 'porch pirate' tracked by bait package dies of car crash injuries, Arcadia police say

May 2019 image of an Amazon package at a front door in Germany.
Police were using a "bait package" device used to deter thefts from porches when they came upon the fatal wreck. (DPA / Associated Press)

An alleged package thief tracked by the Arcadia Police Department via GPS was found mortally injured in a car crash Wednesday —  though officers were not actively pursuing the suspect's vehicle at the time, authorities said.

Officers came upon the crash scene in the 300 block of West Maple Avenue in Monrovia around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to police.

Police had been trying to locate a so-called bait package, a tracking device the department provides to members of the community to catch "porch pirates" in the act of theft, according to Lt. Kollin Cieadlo with the Arcadia Police Department.

"For a long time we were having an uptick in the porch pirates," Cieadlo said. "It's all stat-based. If we have an uptick in mail thefts in our reporting districts then we would shift and find a resident to have this bait package put into their mailbox."

The program has been used by the Arcadia Police Department since at least 2017 and has resulted in arrests of repeat offenders and people out on parole or probation, Cieadlo said.

Another positive, he said, is that the bait packages allow officers to track suspects without having to get into dangerous pursuits.

The crash Wednesday was a single-vehicle crash, according to the department. The driver of the car died at a hospital while a passenger was being treated for moderate injuries.

Inside the car, police said they found the GPS-monitored package as well as additional mail that appeared to be stolen.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.