FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – The Kentucky Senate is looking to crack down on people stealing packages off front porches, also known as “porch pirates”.
According to a Senate Judiciary Committee news release, Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, is sponsoring Senate Bill 23 (SB23) which would make it a class D felony to steal or destroy packages from common carriers and delivery services.
Yates said SB23 would help close a loophole that treats delivery packages differently than mail from the U.S. Postal Service.
“There’s a loophole in the law. At the time we passed this some 40 years ago, we did not consider the type of commerce that we have today,” he said. “There wasn’t the Amazon, the FedEx and all the other delivery courier services. So, they’re treated different under the law today.”
After speaking with some porch pirate victims, Yates said people have had medications and other important items stolen. He also noted crime rings have been known to move from city to city. Yates said the bill has support from the Fraternal Order of Police also.
There are still some existing concerns with the bill. Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, voted for the bill but is concerned about escalating from a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge.
“Like you, I am hesitant to start making misdemeanors felonies, and if it’s a $5 package, a felony can seem kind of steep,” he said.
Sen. Phillip Wheeler, R-Pikeville, voted for the bill due to the seriousness of the issue.
“While I obviously don’t want to make $5 crimes a felony, this is merely bringing up modern commerce and making it commensurate with theft of mail,” he said. “When we all see these news stories where crime has gotten so rampant in big cities, where organized gangs are even robbing trains, we thought we left that behind in the 19th Century, and now we’re seeing that once again, especially in our metropolitan areas.”