Pennsylvania’s New Porch Pirate Law – How porch package theft could now be a felony in Pennsylvania – What makes a theft a felony, misdemeanor or summary offense in Pennsylvania. How does New Jersey go after “Porch Pirates.”
Our criminal defense law firm represents individuals charged with a variety of criminal offenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Theft is often graded based on the value of the item in question, but there are circumstances where the law upgrades a charge based on the type of item or the circumstances surrounding the theft.
A person is guilty of Theft of Movable Property in Pennsylvania under PA’s Crime’s Code, Section 3921, if he or she unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.
What makes a theft a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania?
Theft – Felony of the 3rd Degree – Pennsylvania
Theft is a felony of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $2,000, or if the property stolen is a car, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle, or in the case of theft by receiving stolen property, if the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.
Theft Felony of the 2nd Degree – Pennsylvania
Theft is a felony of the second degree if any of the following occurs:
- The offense is committed during a manmade disaster, a natural disaster or a war-caused disaster
- The property stolen is a firearm.
- In the case of theft by receiving stolen property, the property received, retained or disposed of is a firearm.
- The amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $500,000.
Misdemeanor Theft Charges
Theft is a misdemeanor of the second degree if the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the amount involved was less than $50 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Pennsylvania’s Porch Pirate Law
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed th bill that increases the penalty for mail theft. Prior to the bill mail theft was based on the value of the package.
The new law, however, does not make mail theft an immediate felony, but only targets repeat offenders. Repeat offenders on their third offense or those who steal mail valued at more than $2,000 now face a felony of the third degree,
While stealing items delivered by the United States Postal Service is a federal crime, only State laws typically apply to private companies such as Amazon, UPS, and FedEx.
How Common is Porch Theft?
Last year alone over 1.5 million packages were stolen or went missing in the United States. In Pennsylvania, over two million people have been a victim of mail theft with the average value of the package being approximately $43.00.
As of December 14, 2023, over 3,000 packages have been reported stolen in Philadelphia which is about 10% more than last year.
Porch Theft in New Jersey – Defense Against Porch Pirates Act
New Jersey already has similar legislation on the books. Last year, the Garden State passed Defense Against Porch Pirates Act which makes mail theft an indictable crime (crime of the third degree) with a possible 5 year state prison sentence.
How Serious is Retail Theft (Section 3929) in Pennsylvania?
Retail Theft in Pennsylvania is graded as follows:
- It is a Summary offense when the offense is a first offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150.
- It is a Misdemeanor of the second degree when the offense is a second offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150
- It is a Misdemeanor of the first degree when the offense is a first or second offense and the value of the merchandise is $150 or more.
- It is a Felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the merchandise
- It is a Felony of the third degree when the amount involved exceeds $1,000 or if the merchandise involved is a firearm or a motor vehicle.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
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