Porch pirates could face five years in prison under new Georgia bill

Porch pirates could face five years in prison under new Georgia bill
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A bill proposed in Georgia could enforce stricter measures on package thieves, with punishments of up to five years in prison.

State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R) said the primary purpose of the bill is to combat package thefts.

"We are having an epidemic of porch piracy right now," Rich said.

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Under the proposed bill, stealing packages from doorsteps would become a felony, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. These thieves, also known as "porch pirates," currently face penalties under the state's general theft statute. 

A report cited by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from C+R Research shows that American adults order an average of 45 packages per year and that more than a third of people nationwide have experienced package theft. The average cost to replace a stolen package is $109, according to that report.

Currently, stolen mail cases in Georgia are labeled as misdemeanor theft charges. These charges rise to the felony level only if the item is worth at least $500. Common items ordered from online stores typically do not meet this benchmark.

While there is little statistical data about arrests made involving porch piracy, the news source reported that police make arrests in fewer than 10 percent of cases.

The state of Michigan passed a similar bill in 2019 to apply stricter penalties as a consequence for charged and convicted suspects in stolen package cases. South Carolina also proposed a bill for a minimum of five years in prison for convicted porch pirates, but the legislation is still pending.