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How Are ‘Porch Pirates’ Punished in Illinois?

Posted on in Theft

b2ap3_thumbnail_porch-pirate_20200217-141909_1.jpgSomeone is known as a “porch pirate” when they steal packages from the doorstep of someone else’s house. The state of Illinois is the 13th worst state in the country when it comes to packages being taken. This offense is punished as theft because the person who commits the violation has the intention of keeping the items they take and they know it is against the law. Under Illinois’ theft law, porch pirating is considered a misdemeanor for items that value under $500 and a felony for items that value over $500.

The Penalty for Being Caught Pirating from Porches

On average, 11 million homeowners have packages stolen from their doorsteps in one year. As a result, victims find themselves changing their schedules when they know they have a package being delivered so they can be home to claim their box immediately.

Others pay a hefty cost to install home cameras in order to catch any would-be porch pirates in the act. These products lead to the identification of the offending parties who are then liable for all stolen items.

Illinois law classifies porch pirating as a form of theft. Charges increase in severity depending on the value of the stolen items:

  • A Class A misdemeanor is charged when the stolen items have a value of $500 or less. Offenders face up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
  • A Class 4 felony is charged when the building being pirated is a place of worship, a school, or government property. Offenders face a prison term of 1-3 years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • A Class 3 felony is charged when the property being stolen values between $500 and $10,000. Offenders face a prison term of 2-5 years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • A Class 2 felony is charged when the property being stolen values between $10,000 and $100,000. Offenders face a prison term of 3-7 years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • A Class 1 felony is charged when the property being stolen values between $100,000 and $500,000. Offenders face a prison term of 4-10 years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • A Class X felony is charged when the property being stolen values over $1,000,000. Offenders face a prison term of 6-30 years and fines of up to $25,000.

On average, the property that is pirated from doorsteps values between $50 and $100.

How to Defend Against Allegations of Porch Pirating

Most of the time porch pirates are caught if the homeowner has a camera installed to monitor the front doorway. However, a camera can only capture so much and sometimes a certain identification cannot be made.

Or, a person could be falsely accused of porch pirating if their car was seen at the victim’s home when the package was taken.

Some defenses against charges of theft include:

  • Mistake of fact
  • No intent to permanently deprive the homeowner of their goods
  • Prove owner’s consent to the taking of the package
  • Coercion
  • Entrapment
  • Insanity

If the items are returned to the homeowner after charges are issued against the offender, this does not erase the theft charges.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

The lawyers from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola have experience helping defendants of all sorts of theft cases. They can bring light to the facts of the case and protect clients from any unlawful punishments. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/how-often-porch-pirates-steal-amazon-packages-chicago

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Avvo Illinois State Bar Association Kane COunty Bar Association
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