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As online shopping continues to reshape consumer habits, an unfortunate consequence has emerged: the rise of porch piracy. Criminals targeting delivery trucks and pilfering packages have prompted several states to take decisive legislative action. From elevating offenses to felonies and introducing grading systems for mail theft, these states are at the forefront of safeguarding deliveries and ensuring the safety of their residents.

Kentucky’s Class D Felony and the Fight Against Porch Pirates

The “Porch Pirate Bill,” signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear, elevates the offense from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony.This legislative response comes amidst a surge in online shopping during the pandemic, with organized criminal groups targeting delivery trucks and committing theft and vandalism of packages. With a potential prison term of up to five years, the legislation aims to deter these criminal activities. State Senator David Yates highlights KY SB23’s role in providing a legal framework to address and discourage porch theft.

Missouri’s Felony Offense to Deter Porch Piracy

As part of a broader public safety initiative to combat porch piracy, Missouri has recently enacted legislation to make theft of packages from porches a felony offense. This law aims to protect individuals and their property, especially essential items like mail and medications, and deter and reduce criminal activity. However, concerns have been raised about the immediate imposition of a felony charge, suggesting more lenient penalties for first-time offenders. MO HB95 outlines that the charge is a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, and for a second or subsequent offense, it becomes a class E felony.

New Jersey’s Defense Against Porch Pirates Act Raises Stakes with Third-Degree Crime

New Jersey is attempting to address the porch piracy surge with the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act (NJ A5072), signed by Governor Phil Murphy. The legislation amends the state’s theft statute, categorizing the theft of delivered packages as a third-degree crime. It specifically targets items with an undetermined value or those worth less than $75,000, potentially resulting in three to five years in prison, fines up to $15,000, or both. Introduced in 2020, the bill responds to the increased trend of online shopping during the ongoing pandemic, highlighting the impact of “porch piracy” on consumers and potential losses, such as medication and legal documents. Reflecting the state’s response to the growing package theft issue, the Act underscores the state’s desire to increase criminal penalties applied to those involved in the theft of delivered goods amid rising incidents of property theft among American consumers.

Strengthening Consequences for Mail Theft and Porch Piracy in Pennsylvania

SB527, Act 41 of 2023, addresses porch pirating in Pennsylvania by increasing and modifying penalties for the theft of packages, bags, and letters. Unlike previous practices, where charges were based on the stolen item’s value, the new law introduces a grading system that increases penalties for repeat offenders to hold them accountable for stealing packages amid the rise of online shopping. Specifically, stealing mail is deemed a summary offense for the first instance under $200, a second-degree misdemeanor for a second offense under $200, a first-degree misdemeanor for a first or second offense valued at $200 or more, and a third-degree felony for a third or subsequent offense or if the mail’s value surpasses $2,000. This legislative effort aligns with similar initiatives in eight other states, collectively making porch pirating a felony offense to deter such crimes and enhance community safety in Pennsylvania.

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