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Legislation gives local law enforcement more power to go after “porch pirates”

Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash

Local law enforcement has more power to go after so-called “porch pirates” starting on Monday. That’s according to state lawmakers who helped enact changes to Michigan law (Public Act 48 and 49) making repeated mail theft a state felony.

The first offense would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $500 fine.

According to officials, 17,000 Amazon packages were stolen off porches in Michigan between 2017 and 2018.

Lawmakers say previously, the state had little authority to go after mail theft.

Republican State Senator Jim Runestad sponsored the new law. He said mail theft was already a felony at the federal level but federal law enforcement just didn’t have the resources to go after stolen mail.

“The threshold they said was something like 10,000 or more that they would open a case. Other than that they had no resources to go after somebody running up on the porch, throwing them in the car, and taking off. They had no resources to pursue this.”

Runestad said he believes the changes his legislation made will help law enforcement fight mail theft.

“In the old days, nothing could be done,” he said. “You could call the FBI, you could call the postal inspector, nothing was going to be done because they didn’t have the resources. Now you’ve got this guy on camera, you turn it over to your local law enforcement and they’ve got something to go with.”

Runestad’s legislation was signed into law in September.

He said it was intentional that the law takes effect right around the holidays.

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