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N.J. Lawmaker Proposes Harsher Penalties For So-Called 'Porch Pirates' Who Steal Packages

OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Porch pirates, beware. A proposed law in New Jersey would up the ante for these crimes.

'Tis the season of taking for thieves that steal packages from doorsteps.

Tinton Falls resident Jeremy Molino said it happened to him.

"Pretty aggravating, because I waited, I think at that time, I waited three weeks. Now, I have to wait another two to three weeks to get it again," he told CBS2's Meg Baker.

With online shopping soaring since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an uptick in crimes like this.

"I order all the time online," Oceanport resident Tina DeRosa said. "Unfortunately, it happens. People aren't, you know, honest."

Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak introduced a bill passed by the Assembly that increases the penalties for stealing a package.

"What it does is it raises it to a third-degree crime from a disorderly persons offense," he said.

It would be punishable by three to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

"This just helps our judicial system to force these people to be more accountable," said Karabinchak. "The most important thing is to have restitution to the people that are taken advantage of."

The bill now heads to the Senate for review. Until passed, officials say the best deterrent is a doorbell camera to catch the suspects in the act.

Karabinchak said under the proposed legislation, stealing an item worth more than $75,000 would be upgraded to a second-degree crime.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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