GEORGIA (AP) – Georgia could make it a felony with mandatory prison time for people who steal a single package off someone’s porch or front step, no matter the value.
The House voted 101-67 on Wednesday to approve House Bill 94, which creates a specific crime of porch piracy. The bill also makes it a felony to steal at least 10 pieces of mail from three different addresses or mailboxes. A conviction for either crime would bring a sentence of one to 5 years in prison.
The measure moves to the Senate for more debate. Supporters say the measures are needed to combat organized theft, especially as more people have become reliant on package deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic, but critics say the proposal is overly harsh.
Some other states including Oklahoma and Texas have made a third package theft a felony. But South Carolina lawmakers recently postponed a vote on a bill that would have made porch piracy a felony requiring an automatic sentence of five years.
Utah lawmakers watered down a bill, stopping short of an original proposal to create a felony.