Online shopping has significantly grown in popularity over the last few years, especially during the holidays and now during a pandemic. However, there is a new type of thief – known as the “porch pirate” – who unlawfully capitalizes on this recent trend.
In the past few years, several states have passed laws that specifically address this type of mail theft. In Texas, for example, stealing mail is punishable by a sentence between 180 days in jail and imprisonment for 10 years and fines ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, based on how many people were affected by the theft. In Michigan, the first offense for mail theft carries a maximum jail sentence of one year, while a second offense is punishable by a prison term of up to five years.
Furthermore, mail theft is a federal crime, which can result in a maximum five-year federal prison term and fines not exceeding $250,000. However, federal law only applies to mail delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS), not Amazon, FedEx, or UPS.
In Nevada, the criminal charges and penalties of mail theft depend on the value of the stolen item. If the item is worth less than $250, then the crime is considered “petty theft,” which is a misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail and a fine no more than $1,000. If the item is worth between $650 and $35,000, the crime is “grand larceny,” which is a felony that carries a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Unfortunately, people are accused of being porch pirates due to mistaken identity or making an honest mistake to assume the package belongs to them. In addition, states with specific theft laws address porch pirates that may specifically target the underprivileged and lead to mass incarceration.
If you or a loved one has been accused of theft in Reno, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover today for a free consultation. Discuss your case with a former prosecutor immediately!