Over the last few years, home delivery of packages has become quite common – as have “porch pirates,” the people who steal these packages from the porches of unsuspecting people.
Colorado has a porch pirate problem, something of which law enforcement is fully aware. They’re taking measures to crack down on it. Police all over Colorado are advising residents to be on the lookout for porch pirates – and how to take steps to thwart the theft and turn them in.
If you’re considering doing some of your holiday shopping off the porches of others, you may want to reconsider. You can face some severe penalties for theft in Colorado and even federal penalties, which can lead to even more legal trouble. Here’s what you need to know about porch piracy in Colorado.
The Criminal Consequences of Porch Piracy
If someone decides to take packages from the porch of another person, then they can face criminal theft charges in Colorado. As with other theft charges, the level of theft faced depends on the value of the items stolen.
This can make for quite the gamble when taking packages, since you don’t really know what is inside. You could be looking at a Class 3 misdemeanor or something as serious as felony theft.
The different levels of theft that can be charged in Colorado include:
There are three levels of misdemeanor theft, including:
- Class 3 – If the value of the items stolen is between $50 and $300, then you can face up to six months behind bars and fines of as much as $750.
- Class 2 – For goods valued between $300 and $750, one year in jail and fines of as much as $1,000 can be ordered.
- Class 1 – This misdemeanor charge is for items valued between $750 and $2,000. You can spend up to 18 months behind bars and be responsible for fines of as much as $5,000.
For items valued over $2,000, you can face felony theft charges. If convicted, you can face up to 12 years in prison and be ordered to pay fines of as much as $1 million. After you’re released from prison, you can be ordered to observe parole for up to five years. This all depends on the value of the items that were stolen.
What About Federal Charges?
Don’t forget that the United States Postal Service is under the umbrella of the federal government. That means that theft of packages from the USPS can lead to federal mail theft charges.
The government defines mail fraud as an attempt to obtain, take, steal, or abstract mail from the post office, letterbox, mail route, mail receptacle, or any other type of authorized mail depository. If you receive, conceal, or otherwise unlawfully possess mail that has been taken or stolen, you can spend up to five years in federal prison.
Stopping Porch Piracy
If you’re a citizen concerned about porch piracy, there are things you can do to help stop it. You can consider taking one of these actions:
- Get a smart delivery box, on e that delivery services can access but from which only you can retrieve packages
- Get a doorbell cam, which is triggered by a motion sensor, to notify you of activity at your door – it will also capture footage
- Set up security cameras outside to catch potential thieves in action
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.