New Jersey passes law with strict penalties for porch pirates

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New Jersey passes law with strict penalties for porch pirates
A postal worker pushes a hand truck containing crates of mail on a sidewalk in New York City in August 2020. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a new law that creates stiff penalties for those who steal packages from porches, no matter the value of the item stolen. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a new law that creates stiff penalties for those who steal packages from porches, no matter the value of the item stolen.

The law, titled the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act, was signed by the governor this month after the bill passed the State Senate and Assembly with unanimous votes, Patch reported.

The new law amends existing journey law which grades theft-related crimes by the value of the item stolen, NJ Advance Media reported.

The porch pirate law levels the charges for stealing packages delivered to residential properties of any value under $75,000 to the grade of a crime in the third degree, which comes with a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.

Previously, stealing packages could come with a variety of penalties ranging from being graded as a low as a disorderly persons offense with a prison sentence of up to six months or a $1,000 fine to a crime of the second degree with a penalty as high as 10 years in state prison and fines of up to $150,000.

With the increase of online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, package theft has also risen, according to data from home security experts.

One report from SafeWise shows that 210 million packages were stolen from porches across the country in 2021 – with the highest levels of theft occurring in Denver, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.

UPI

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