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California Legislature could stiffen penalties for “porch pirates”

California Legislature could stiffen penalties for “porch pirates”

A proposed bill in the California Assembly would increase the penalties for criminals who steal packages from the front porch of homes.

AB 1210 is sponsored by Bay Area Assemblyman Evan Low. The bill would make stealing packages a burglary crime. Currently the penalty of the crime is tied to the value of the theft. Under the proposed bill, stealing a package would carry the same penalty as entering a home and stealing items.

Every year millions of Americans are victims of porch pirates. In 2017, 25.9 million Americans had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep—more than the 23.5 million porch thefts reported in 2015. Michigan and New Jersey are also looking at making the penalties more severe for package theft.

Text from the AB1210:

Under existing law, a person who enters a house, room, apartment, or other specified structure, with intent to commit larceny or any felony, is guilty of burglary in the first or 2nd degree, as specified. Burglary in the first degree is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 4, or 6 years, and burglary in the 2nd degree is punishable as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or as a felony by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.


This bill would prohibit a person from entering the curtilage of a home, as defined, with the intent to commit theft of a package shipped through the mail or delivered by a public or private carrier. The bill would make a violation of that prohibition punishable as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or as a felony by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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