Proposed bill would make package theft a felony

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 7:06 PM EST
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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - Kentucky lawmakers took the first step in imposing increased penalties aimed at porch pirates.

Senate Bill 23 is sponsored by Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, who calls his measure “The Porch Pirate Bill.” Yates told the panel the theft of mail matter statute, which was enacted in 1982, applies only to items delivered by the United State Postal Service and is a class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison if convicted.

Under the measure, the felony theft of mail offense would be expanded to include stealing packages delivered by commercial carriers such as Amazon, UPS, and FedEx. Offenders could face up to five years in prison.

The law now only applies to mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

The bill, which sailed through the committee, heads to the full Senate next.

Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods said several years ago the county had been hit by a string of porch pirate thefts.

“It’s an easy theft. They’d take them [the packages] to flea market, or if there was something they could get rid of it in the pawnshop,” Woods said. “It’s very hard to catch them if they don’t have a security camera. However, if they do most of the time, it’s hard to identify them unless you get a license plate or neighbor as a witness.”

According to Woods, since more people have installed doorbell cameras or security cameras, his agency has seen a decrease in package thefts.

Woods hopes the proposed bill would deter people from committing the crime, to begin with.

“I hope that works on this. I hope people realize that if they steal a package of socks off a porch that they have committed a felony, if this passes, and they’re marked for life with that penalty.”

The bill was approved by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee by a 10-0 vote.

To read the bill, click here.

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