NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Porch pirates beware, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed House Bill 37 into law, making it a felony to steal mail and packages from someone's property.
Now anyone convicted of package theft will face anywhere from 6 months to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. The severity of the punishment depends on how many times a theft was committed and the value of the stolen item/items.
Currently in Texas package theft is prosecuted similar to shoplifting, with a Class C Misdemeanor ticket or a Class B Misdemeanor charge.
Under the new law if a thief steals from less than 10 people they will face a state felony charge; steal from between 20 and 50 people it's a second-degree felony; and people accused of stealing from more than 50 people will face first-degree felony charges.
The incidents of package theft have risen as more people do their shopping online and opt for home delivery. A survey estimated that more than 25 million Americans had a package stolen from their home during the 2018 holiday season.
State Representative Gene Wu of Houston authored the bill that goes into effect on September 1.
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