Here's how Edina police tricked a package thief

Plus: Tips on how to protect stuff you order online from Grinches.

Stolen Amazon boxes is an all-too-real worry during the holidays, so the Edina Police Department came up with a sneaky plan to catch local thieves. 

With a resident's permission, officers planted a package outside a home in the 4300 block of Brook Avenue on Dec. 6, according to the Pioneer Press. It was made to look like a (tempting!) laptop box, but really it was stuffed with a GPS tracker.

When officers detected it moving last week, they traced its location and ended up pulling over a vehicle that had the package – along with a bunch of others – inside.

A 36-year-old male suspect was charged with possession of stolen property and taken to the Hennepin County Jail. His criminal history includes two drug convictions and another for illegal weapons possession, the Star Tribune says.

After the successful bust, Edina police tweeted a warning to other potential package-snatchers: "Don't be a Grinch."

How to protect your stuff

Last year, people spent $43.7 billion on Amazon alone over the holidays. And if you're not home when your stuff arrives, it's pretty vulnerable sitting on your doorstep.

If you're a Prime member, Amazon Key is an option. It allows you to let delivery drivers from Amazon enter your home when you're not there. But you'll have to pay to protect yourself – it requires a $200 kit that includes a smart lock and an indoor security camera.

For everyone else, the Minneapolis Police Department offers these tips:

– Ship the package to a location where you know someone will be available to receive it, like a family member's house, trusted friend, work, etc.

– Or consider requesting to have a “signature required" so the package isn't just left outside.

– You can also choose to have your package sent to a FedEx or UPS location near you. Then you just have to go pick it up. The U.S. Postal Service has similar options.

Help protect your neighbors too. If you see something suspicious, such as a person picking up a package off your neighbor’s front step or a car following a delivery van, call 911 immediately. 

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