California Legislator proposes stiffer penalties for porch pirates

A California State Senator from the San Diego area is proposing a new law that will increase the penalties for people that steal packages from the porch or entryway to someone’s home. Currently, this type of theft is a misdemeanor.

The law being proposed by Senator Brian Jones (R) of the 38th Senate District would make it a felony for repeat offenders. SB 979 would make the third such crime in a 36 month period a felony.

Jones’ office issued the following press release:

Stolen goods affect not just retailers but buyers and other consumers

Sacramento – State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) today introduced Senate Bill 979, a measure to increase the penalties on persons who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone’s home.

“While the advent of increasing home delivery of goods has benefitted consumers, retailers, and the economy in general, it has also lead to increased theft of packages from outside Californians’ homes,” stated Senator Jones.  “This ‘porch piracy’ epidemic is serious and needs to be addressed by our criminal justice system. Current law is weak on the punishment of this type of theft but this bill will increase the consequences significantly.” 

Current law provides that a theft of a package from the porch or entryway of someone’s home is merely a misdemeanor, no matter how many repeat convictions the perpetrator may have on their record.  SB 979 would allow prosecutors to charge the perpetrator (“porch pirate”) with a misdemeanor or with a felony in the third or subsequent conviction during a 36-month period.  This will increase the jail time for these thieves.

“Some of these so-called ‘porch pirates’ are habitual offenders who keep dodging real punishment for their actions because thefts from outside a home are treated differently under current law than burglaries committed inside a home,” continued Jones.  “Theft of packages drives up prices for all consumers, increases insurance rates, and puts honest Californians in vulnerable situations should they encounter these criminals.”

SB 979 is awaiting assignment to a Senate policy committee for a hearing.

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