A call to toughen penalties for porch piracy in NJ
With more and more New Jerseyans shopping online, what is commonly referred to as “porch piracy,” where items that have been delivered are being stolen from front porches, is becoming an increasing problem.
One Garden State lawmaker is fed up and is pushing a plan to crack down on these delivery package crooks.
“We’re seeing these thieves just walk up, pick up the box , not knowing what’s even in it, taking it and walking away,” said Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak, D-Middlesex.
He noted during the recent holiday season, a rash of porch piracies were reported in Jersey — and several arrests were made.
On Dec. 19, Hamilton police in Mercer County arrested a suspect in connection with the theft of multiple packages over a two-month span, while authorities in Keansburg took a suspect into custody for stealing several packages.
The following day, a driver for a company that handles packages for Amazon was arrested in Harding, charged with swiping the very packages he was supposed to be delivering.
On Dec. 21, a heartless “Grinch” was caught by police in Metuchen and charged with stealing multiple holiday packages.
Suspects are routinely charged with misdemeanor theft for stealing packages, but the measure Karabinchak has introduced calls for more serious charges to be filed.
“If there’s a product that’s $200 or less it’s a fourth-degree crime. If it’s worth more than $200, it goes up to a third-degree crime.”
Crimes of the third-degree in New Jersey are punishable by up to three to five years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
“Taking these packages off of a person’s property is just as invasive as breaking into their homes to steal them," he said.
The proposed measure also calls for restitution to be made the victim of the crime.
He notes an increasing number of homeowners are getting video surveillance cams that are either placed outside the house, or built into a doorbell, which can be helpful in identifying a suspected porch pirate.
The measure will soon be considered by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.