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Bill filed to make stealing packages from porches a felony in Arkansas

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In an effort to deter porch pirates, an Arkansas lawmaker has filed a bill to increase the criminal charge.

Currently, stealing a package from someone’s porch is a misdemeanor theft. If it doesn’t happen in front of a police officer, typically they will have to get a prosecutor’s approval before issuing a warrant – but this bill makes this type of crime a felony.

HB 1317, filed by Rep. Lee Johnson, R-Greenwood, would increase charges to a Class D felony – this includes stealing packages from porches, garages, driveways, and from the delivery truck.

“If you call someone and say, someone just stole this package off my porch and the police come and they haven’t witnessed that event it creates some challenges in investigating that event,” said Johnson. “By making it a Class D felony, it then allows police officers a better opportunity to investigate the crime.”

Johnson told KATV that the reality is, package deliveries will continue, but he hopes to deter thieves from brazenly walking up and stealing your items.

“These packages, it’s not just Christmas presents and birthday gifts, at this point in the pandemic, people are ordering medical supplies, groceries, things that are truly necessities for them and there needs to be a deterrent to stealing those from someone’s property,” added Johnson.

This bill is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee meeting.

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