Operation Santa Watch: Cleveland Co. Sheriff’s Office works to stop holiday porch pirates

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office is taking extra care this season to prevent Grinches from stealing residents’ Christmas.

Deputies designed Operation Santa Watch to combat proliferation of the thieves, and they’re putting it into action as Black Friday packages and Christmas packages are starting to hit front doors.

“You never know where we’re going to be and you never know when we’re going to be there,” said Cleveland County Sheriff Todd Gibson.

That’s hopefully the key to success to catching criminals ranging from a random drive-by grab, to a more sophisticated thief.

“Some will actually trail behind some of these delivery trucks,” the sheriff said, “potentially looking at the different targets that they want to steal.”

Deputies are taking a cue from those crooks, working with delivery companies to find a target of their own. 

“We’re able to work with them on their routes and target people that might be following the trucks, or might be trying to circle behind the trucks during deliveries,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff is calling on reserve deputies to help saturate the targeted neighborhoods, and they’ll be in marked and unmarked vehicles.

Which neighborhoods the deputies surveil are under wraps to hopefully deter would-be criminals, and catch the ones that try to snatch up other people’s packages anyway.

The sheriff is still urging people to have packages sent somewhere safe, to get packages off their porch as soon as possible and to report a theft, even if what’s stolen is something small.

“To anybody thinking about coming into Cleveland County and taking packages off of porches,” said Gibson, “what we would like to tell you is hey, we’re watching, and we’re looking for you, so stay out.”

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