AUSTIN, TX – State Representative Gene Wu (D-Houston) has filed H.B. 760 to defend consumers against the increasing scourge of package thieves — commonly known as “porch pirates.” This legislation would increase the criminal penalty for stealing packages addressed to a victim and from the steps of a victim’s home. Currently, package theft is only prosecuted as a Class C Misdemeanor ticket or as a Class B Misdemeanor, like shoplifting.
Representative Wu made the following statement regarding this legislation:
“Package theft has been on the rise in recent years due to the increased market share of online shopping and home delivery services. Despite frequently having clear videos documenting the theft, these acts often go un-investigated, and the offenders go unpunished. I hope that this legislation can encourage prosecutions and deter would be thieves who don’t think the police would ever bother.
As a lawmaker, I am always hesitant to increase criminal penalties, but this is a different situation. The current law is based on the value of the property stolen and not the nature of the theft. The value of most day-to-day deliveries would garner no more than a simple Class C ticket for the theft, and as such, law enforcement may be reluctant to spend scarce resources to track down a thief, and to issue a ticket. Additionally, stealing packages from a victim’s own home is much more of a personal violation of a victim than compared to stealing a six-pack of beer from the gas station.
More and more Texans are having their groceries, prescriptions, and daily items delivered straight to their door. Many of these thefts are taking place during work hours, when upstanding citizens are working hard to provide these delivered goods for their families. I want to ensure hardworking Texans are protected from these porch pirates.”
State Representative Gene Wu is serving his fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives. He represents House District 137, which includes the southwestern portions of the City of Houston.