Teenager Catches Family Package Thief Using GPS Tracking Device

Police have apprehended a suspected package thief thanks to the ingenious efforts of a tech-savvy teen who tricked the would-be raider into allegedly stealing a package which, unbeknownst to him, contained a GPS tracking device.

According to Fox 13, Justin Bankhead from Orem, Utah, had had several packages containing hundreds of dollars' worth of items stolen from outside his property.

The alleged thief was even caught on a security camera stealing one package containing a white SMEG coffee maker off his front porch at 5:19 A.M. on Thursday November 25.

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Bankhead shared footage of the theft on Facebook alongside an appeal offering a $500 reward to anyone who helped him find out who took the item from outside his home.

That was when his 14-year-old son, Cody, began to take an interest. "I didn't care until I heard about the bounty," Cody told Fox 13.

He quickly set about laying a trap for any potential thief.

A box was placed on the same porch area outside the family home. Except this time it contained a little surprise: a GPS tracking device.

It was early on Monday morning when the Bankheads' security camera captured a man driving up to the house again before making off with the cardboard box.

Once Cody realized the box containing the GPS tracking device had been taken, he informed his father who passed the message on to the police.

With the tracking information in hand, officers from Provo Police were able to make an arrest soon after with the suspect later transferred to Orem Police.

Returning to Facebook, Justin shared a post featuring clips of the alleged thief stealing the package and later being arrested.

"NAILED IT!" he wrote. "This morning another package was stolen from our porch, but this time Cody had a tracker in the package and we caught the guy!! Cody just made $500!!! Hell yeah!"

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Justin later told Fox 13 he hopes their story serves as a warning to any other would-be package thieves out there.

"Everyone has these frustrations of these guys running around in neighborhoods having a free-for-all," he said.

"If you're going out there, you are going to get caught. People are smarting up."

Newsweek has contacted Justin Bankhead and Orem Police for comment.

While the Bankheads have hopefully stopped their parcel thief in his tracks, others may not be so lucky over the busy Christmas giving season.

Indeed, package thefts are an alarming common issue in the U.S., with a recent survey by Safewise revealing an estimated 210 million packages have vanished from porches across the country over the past 12 months.

The Bankheads aren't the first family to get their own back though. One clan in Missouri managed to trick a thief into stealing a box which, unbeknownst to them, contained nothing but dirty diapers.

A front door with packages outside it.
Stock image of a front door at Christmas. An alleged package thief has been caught thanks to a GPS tracking device. CRobertson/Getty