—Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) will soon introduce legislation to crack down on home delivery theft.
“With the ongoing pandemic, online purchases have skyrocketed,” Thomas said.
Thomas is crafting the legislation with input from Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. With the continuing COVID-19 health crisis, many packages are being left unattended on porches to avoid unnecessary interactions.
A 2019 report found that 36% of Americans who shop online have had a package stolen. Surveys done in 2021 found that Americans lost about $210 million to porch pirates.
“As we’ve come to depend on commerce by mail in this digital age, package theft is growing, and that’s creating a need for a law specifically aimed at ‘porch piracy’ to more accurately reflect our societal values and deter these thieves through increased criminal penalties,” Weintraub said.
Theft of mail is currently charged as a theft offense based solely on the value of the item taken. Thomas’s bill would implement specific penalties for theft of mail which includes a package, bag or letter. The grading of this offense would increase if the person has prior convictions for theft of mail.
Under the legislation, the first offense would be a summary offense provided the value of the merchandise is less than $150. If the value of the package is more than $150, or the act is a second offense, the offender would face a second-degree misdemeanor. A third offense, regardless of the package value, would be a third-degree felony.