Trenton, NJ - “Package theft is a growing problem for online consumers,” said Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “As the popularity of online shopping has increased, unfortunately, so has the act of stealing those deliveries from homes before residents retrieve them. This is a downside to having your purchases delivered, but not one that should be without penalty and recourse.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Karabinchak introduced legislation which he hopes will curb the incidence of these thefts.   If passed, Mr. Karabinchak’s bill would significantly increase the penalties associated with the theft of packages from residential homes.

Under the bill, a person who commits a theft by taking a package delivered to a residential property by any cargo carrier would be guilty of a fourth degree crime if the value of the stolen merchandise is below $200. If the stolen items exceed $200, the person would be guilty of a crime one degree higher than the underlying offense.   Individuals convicted under the proposal would be required to pay restitution and may also be required to complete up to 10 days of community service.  As a result, the bill increases the likelihood of porch pirates spending time in jail and paying heavy fines

Recent incidents of package theft in Mr. Karabinchak’s legislative district underscored the need for this legislation according to Mr. Karabinchak’s office.  In December, an Amazon delivery contractor was arrested for allegedly stealing packages from porches in Metuchen left there by other carriers, according to police. Only a few days later, another suspect was caught by a resident as he tried to take a package off a Maple Avenue home's porch in Metuchen.