In the next legislative session, an Alabama lawmaker is introducing a bill to tackle the issue of “porch pirates” – individuals who steal packages belonging to others.
Senator April Weaver has proposed a bill that aims to categorize package theft as a felony offense, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. The bill seeks to expand the existing property theft statute in Alabama to include “any item mailed or shipped to another person.”
“The Grinch may steal Christmas in Whoville, but if our efforts to pass this legislation in the Alabama legislature are successful, he won’t be able to do it in Alabama anymore,” Weaver declared.
The bill includes a series of escalating penalties determined by the value of the stolen item. If the item is valued at $500 or less, it would be considered a misdemeanor and could result in a maximum prison sentence of one year. However, if the item is valued at more than $2,500, it would be classified as a Class B felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of two to 20 years.
According to Weaver, it is crucial to address the issue of packages and children’s Christmas gifts being stolen from people’s homes. He highlighted the plight of his constituents who work tirelessly, often holding two jobs, just to provide a joyful Christmas for their families. However, their efforts are being undermined by the thefts, which not only impact their financial stability but also take away the joy of the holiday season. Weaver emphasized the urgency to tackle this problem and find solutions that protect the hard work and sacrifices made by individuals striving to make Christmas special for their loved ones.
According to Security.org’s 2023 Package Theft Report, a staggering 17% of Americans have fallen victim to package theft within the past three months.
Rep. Neil Rafferty acknowledges that he understands the concerns regarding theft, as he himself is familiar with the issue. However, he highlights the fact that both state and federal laws already exist to address this crime. Rafferty also emphasizes that Alabama faces more significant challenges within its prison system that warrant attention.
Rafferty (D-Birmingham) acknowledges that the situation is frustrating. However, they emphasize that the prison system and criminal justice system as a whole face more significant crises and issues.
Alabama is set to join nine other states with a similar law if the proposed bill is passed. The legislative session is scheduled to begin in February.
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