Lawmakers take aim on ‘porch pirates’ with new bill that would get tough on package thieves

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kentucky lawmakers took a first step Thursday toward imposing tougher penalties for stealing packages left on porches by commercial delivery carriers.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a measure to update the state’s theft of mail statute, closing a loophole in the decades-old law, said Sen. David Yates, the bill’s lead sponsor.

The goal is to crack down on “porch pirates” who snatch packages left near front doors.

“We’re hoping to be able to put a dent in it,” Yates told the committee.

Under the measure, the felony theft of mail offense would be expanded to include stealing packages delivered by such commercial carriers as Amazon, UPS and FedEx. Offenders could face up to five years in prison. The law now only applies to mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

The bill, which sailed through the committee, heads to the full Senate next.

Package thefts from porches are a big issue in Louisville, and there are concerns the thefts will escalate, said Yates, a Louisville Democrat. Some people have been victimized “over and over again,” with the theft of medicines and other important items from their porches, he said.

The current loophole in the law results in some thieves not being prosecuted for lesser misdemeanor offenses, Yates said.