Online shopping and delivery rates have increased significantly during the pandemic, due to stay-at-home orders. Current consumers’ habits are very likely to continue even when life returns to normal.
With delivery rates high, “porch piracy” has also increased. Porch pirates are individuals who steal packages off porches of unsuspecting residents. This happens more often when homeowners are not on the property and packages are delivered throughout the day.
Around 43% of 20 billion packages shipped in the U.S. in 2020 were intercepted by thieves, according to Pitney Bowes. In Florida, there were 1,669 crimes related to package theft per 100,000 residents (CCTV Camera World, 2021).
A lot of homeowners have installed security cameras outside their houses, which makes it easier for people to be captured and identified. The footage from these security devices can serve as evidence against individuals in court.
If you have been accused of stealing packages from somebody else´s home, you may be charged with the following crimes:
- Theft Charges: These charges occur when a person intentionally obtains another person´s property. In the state of Florida, these crimes are classified by the value of the items that are stolen.
If the value of the stolen item is below $100, it is considered a second-degree petty theft, and it can be punishable with up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If the value of an object is between $100 to $300, it is considered a petit theft, and an individual may be arrested for First-Degree petty theft. This means a conviction of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
When the property´s value is between $300 and $20,00, it is considered a third-degree grand theft. This felony can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
An individual could face a felony charge according to the type of property stolen, or if they have been convicted on two or more theft crimes in the past. Furthermore, the penalties may increase if a person has a prior history of stealing merchandise.
- Burglary Charges: Burglary means illegally entering a structure or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. The difference with theft is that burglary is always a felony, and you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison with a fine of up to $5,000. An arrest may be made for burglary even if you do not steal the package.
- Federal Charges: Interfering with U.S mail is a federal offense, which can lead to a federal prison sentence of a maximum of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
If you´ve been charged for any of these crimes, there are defense strategies available that an experienced criminal defense attorney can apply. Russell A. Spatz has decades of experience handling criminal cases. Please call him at 305-442-0200 to discuss your criminal matter and get started on your case.