Thomas bill creates penalties for mail and package theft

House Bill 2595 provides that if a person takes the mail of another person with the intent to deprive them of it, the person would commit a criminal offense

Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) has introduced legislation to crack down on home delivery theft.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, physical retailers closed their doors, Pennsylvanians sheltered in place, and more delivery workers left packages unattended on porches rather than risk an interaction with someone who has the coronavirus,” Thomas said. “As we return to work, this problem will increase.”

A 2019 report found that 36 percent of Americans who shop online have had a package stolen. The bill was designed after consultation with Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.

“We’ve come to count on commerce by mail in this digital age, even more so while trying to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic,” Weintraub said. “Passage of this law specifically aimed at ‘porch piracy’ will more accurately reflect our societal values by specifically deterring these thieves through increased criminal penalties.”

Theft of mail is currently charged as a theft offense based solely on the value of the item taken. House Bill 2595 would implement specific penalties for theft of mail which includes a package, bag or letter. The grading of this offense would increase if the person has prior convictions for theft or mail.

Under House Bill 2595, the first offense would be a summary offense provided the value of the merchandise is less than $150. If the value of the package is more than $150, or the act is a second offense, the offender would be faced with a second-degree misdemeanor. A third offense, regardless of the package value, would be a third-degree felony.

House Bill 2595 provides that if a person takes the mail of another person with the intent to deprive them of it, the person would commit a criminal offense.