Package Theft

As the number of packages being shipped and delivered through the mail has increased, so has the theft of these packages from the doorsteps of the people who ordered the package. The problem of package theft (or the so-called “porch pirate”) has impacted every neighborhood and community in California.

The crime of porch theft can be prosecuted as an “attempted theft” if the person is caught in the act of attempting the crime. If the individual actually takes something from the porch, then the person can be prosecuted for either petty theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the item.

In other words, the theft of a privately-delivered package is prosecuted as a misdemeanor under state law unless the items contained in the package are valued at more than $950 (see Pen. Code, §§ 490 and 490.2), in which case the crime is prosecuted as a felony.

If the stolen item was shipped by mail, the crime of theft of the package is punishable under California Penal Code section 530.5(e) as a one year misdemeanor. Likewise, the theft of a package left on the doorstep of a residence can be prosecuted as a felony if the package has been delivered by UPS under federal law.

Federal crimes of stealing a package can be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1708 which are punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison or both.

Attorney for Package Theft in Ventura, CA

If you were charged with any felony or misdemeanor offense of package theft, the contact an experienced theft crime attorney in Ventura, CA, at Jay Leiderman Law.

At Jay Leiderman Law, we understand why prosecutors often take a more aggressive approach to prosecuting a package theft because entering onto the curtilage of a residence with the intent to steal, while not as dangerous as entry into the home itself, comes with elevated dangers to both the perpetrator and victim.

The crime of package theft from a person’s porch involves a breach of personal privacy and security that is greater than in the typical type of theft case.

Call (805) 654-0200 to discuss your case.

New Bills to Address Package Theft and Porch Pirates

Lawmakers have noted that the laws in California to not adequately address the problem of dealing with the so-called “porch pirates.” A recently introduced bill would make it a crime to enter the curtilage of a home with the intent to commit theft of a package shipped through the mail or delivered by a public or private carrier.

The crime defined by this bill is not dependent on the value of the property intended to be stolen, but the fact that it was stolen from a person’s porch. This bill would make conduct that would otherwise constitute misdemeanor petty theft under Proposition 47 because the property was value under $950, punishable as a felony.

Recently, bills have been introduced in the California legislature to increase the penalties for package theft in order to dissuade individuals from engaging in this behavior.