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California lawmaker introduces 'porch piracy' bill to make package theft a felony

Video shows package thief's tactics in El Cajon
Posted at 3:12 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 11:21:17-05

SANTEE, Calif. (CNS) - Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee, on Wednesday introduced Senate Bill 358, a measure to increase the penalties on people who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone's home.

"Because of the COVID-19 crisis, home delivery of goods has increased all across the nation. In particular, seniors and disabled Californians rely on package delivery for fundamental items such as medication and food," Jones said. "Unfortunately, package theft continues to run rampant with the rise of home delivery services. This 'porch piracy' epidemic is serious and must be addressed by our criminal justice system. While current law is weak, this bill will ensure the punishment fits the crime."

Current law provides that a theft of a package from the porch or entryway of someone's home is considered a misdemeanor. SB 358 would allow prosecutors to charge a "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 those convicted.

"Because current law treats package theft outside the home differently than burglaries inside the home, many of these porch pirates are habitual offenders who keep dodging real punishment for their crimes," Jones said. "In addition to driving up the price for all consumers, porch piracy leaves the most vulnerable in our community without essential items that many need to survive."

SB 358 is awaiting assignment to a Senate policy committee for a hearing.

Jones is chair of the Senate Republican Caucus and represents the 38th Senate District which includes most of East San Diego County.