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Texas may impose stiffer penalties for porch pirates

Theft of packages from residential doorsteps is a crime that can often get a lot of attention on TV news and social media. However, Texas lawmakers are trying to curb the problem by increasing the penalties. The proposed new law would mean defendants charged with package theft would be prosecuted just like home burglars. If the law passes, a person convicted of stealing 10 or fewer packages could receive up to two years in prison. Stealing 50 or more packages could result in a 20-year maximum prison term.

As of the end of 2018, penalties for stolen property are punished based on the value of the goods. Any number of packages stolen that have less than $2,500 in value would result in a misdemeanor while values greater could result in a felony. Houston police have stated that package theft has steadily increased over the past decade, and incidents usually spike during the holiday season. Some homeowners try to defend against this practice by installing cameras on their porches.

According to research, 20 out of every 1,000 homes in the Houston area are victims of porch package theft in any given year. This puts the city in the top ten for this type of crime. Officers who work in the burglary and theft divisions of the police department say that porch theft is an attractive activity because it's usually easy pickings.

Individuals accused of a theft offense have the right to representation from an attorney. Before speaking with the police or investigators, defendants are advised to consult with a lawyer who can provide support and guidance. It's the responsibility of a criminal defense attorney to pursue the best interests of their client regardless of innocence or guilt. That may mean negotiating a plea agreement or going to trial.

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