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Is porch pirating a felony in Pennsylvania? The answer, explained

A blue USPS mailbox.
Susan Walsh
A mailbox is seen in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.

Packages stolen before they have a chance to be received are often deemed as being taken by “porch pirates,” who now may face stricter consequences under Pennsylvania law.

Introduced in March of 2023, the legislation recently signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro is SB 527, which targets those involved in mail and package theft.

According to a memorandum by bill sponsor Sen. Frank A. Farry, “The average cost of a package stolen in Pennsylvania is $43 and close to 2 million Pennsylvanians have experienced this crime.”

Some misinformation has surrounded the adoption of this bill, with widely shared headlines declaring that “Porch pirating is now a felony in Pa.”

Instead, the legislation outlines compounding effects for those who steal packages more than once or of increasing value. It also establishes stronger effects for those packages stolen after being sent via Amazon, FedEx or UPS, as tampering or stealing USPS mail is already a federal offense.

For example, first offenses where the package is worth less than $200 are now summary offenses, punishable by a fine or up to 90 days in jail. Second offenses where the package is worth less than $200 are now misdemeanors of the second degree. First or second offenses where the package is worth more than $200 are misdemeanors of the first degree. Third offenses and onwards, or offenses where the package is worth $2,000 or more, are now felonies (though only of the third degree).

So, the more often or higher value packages a person steals, the more serious the offense is in the eyes of the law. Stay vigilant!

Copyright 2024 91.3 WLVR / Lehigh Valley News. To see more, visit 91.3 WLVR / Lehigh Valley News.