Texas Law Would Make Porch Package Theft a State Jail Felony
Earlier this month, Texas State Representative Gene Wu of Houston introduced House Bill 760, which would make "porch piracy" a state jail felony. In a news release, Wu said such thefts are currently prosecuted as misdemeanors, similar to shoplifting.
It's called House Bill 760 and the plan is for it to protect consumers against an uprise in porch pirating. This bill would increase the criminal penalty for stealing packages from someone's front steps. As the law stands now, stealing packages is only a Class C Misdemeanor, or as a Class B Misdemeanor such as shoplifting.
Wu released the following statement on the Texas House website...
"Package theft has been on the rise in recent years due to the increased market share of online shopping and home delivery services. Despite frequently having clear videos documenting the theft, these acts often go un-investigated, and the offenders go unpunished. I hope that this legislation can encourage prosecutions and deter would-be thieves who don't think the police would ever bother.
As a lawmaker, I am always hesitant to increase criminal penalties, but this is a different situation. The current law is based on the value of the property stolen and not the nature of the theft. The value of most day-to-day deliveries would garner no more than a simple Class C ticket for the theft, and as such, law enforcement may be reluctant to spend scarce resources to track down a thief and to issue a ticket. Additionally, stealing packages from a victim's own home is much more of a personal violation of a victim than compared to stealing a six-pack of beer from the gas station.
More and more Texans are having their groceries, prescriptions, and daily items delivered straight to their door. Many of these thefts are taking place during work hours when upstanding citizens are working hard to provide these delivered goods for their families. I want to ensure hardworking Texans are protected from these porch pirates."
Wu is currently serving his fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives from district 137. The district includes southwestern parts of the city of Houston.