Bill would see porch pirates who steal packages walk the plank under stiffer penalties

ST. GEORGE — It’s a bill designed to make porch pirates walk the plank.

Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, speaking on the House floor, Salt Lake City, Feb. 14, 2018 | File photo courtesy of the Utah Legislature, St. George News

“I hate porch pirates,” Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, said Friday as he discussed the reasoning behind the recently introduced House Bill 433: Mail Theft Amendments.

Porch pirates, or those who steal packages left outside someone’s front door by a mail carrier, would have stiffer penalties under HB 433 than are currently enforced under Utah law.

“It makes our mail theft law parallel, or in unison with federal law,” Brooks said.

Currently, a person who commits mail theft is subject to a second-degree felony if the value of the mail or package stolen is $5,000 or higher. Stolen mail valued between $1,000 and $5,000 gets a third-degree felony, while below $1,000 is in a class A misdemeanor.

A 2017 photo taken from a home security camera in the Santa Clara-Ivins area | File photo courtesy of Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety, St. George News

Current law doesn’t exactly account to mail stolen that may contain personal information that could lend to identity theft, Brooks said. His proposed bill would address that, he said.

Under HB 433, mail theft is a third-degree felony, while the theft of what contains personal identifying information of 10 or more people is a second-degree felony.

Despite the bill being introduced in the latter half of the general legislative session, Brooks believes HB 433 has a good chance of getting through before the session ends March 12.

“Its got a lot of support,” he said. “I have a lot of support from my colleagues and every constituent I’ve talked to has been really, really happy about it.”

For a complete list of contacts for Southern Utah representatives and senators, click here.

Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2020 Utah Legislature here.

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