Bill making porch piracy a crime passes Georgia Legislature

Stealing multiple packages off front porches would become a felony in Georgia, according to a bill that cleared the Georgia General Assembly on Wednesday.

The House voted 103-59 to send House Bill 94 to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

The measure comes in response to a rash of complaints about thieves targeting neighborhoods and snatching deliveries from Amazon and other services.

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Lawmakers backed off an earlier proposal that would have made all cases of porch piracy a felony, punishable with one to five years in prison.

They revised the bill so that a judge can reduce a porch piracy charge to a misdemeanor offense. The final version of the measure also limits the crime to cases where at least 10 pieces of mail were stolen from three or more addresses.

“We are actually targeting true crime rings and porch pirates,” said state Rep. Bonnie Rich, a Republican from Suwanee.

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Opponents of the bill have said there were better ways to respond to crime than tougher prison sentences, such as education and intervention.

Under current law, stealing a package would be charged under theft statutes.

The legislation that passed Wednesday would make porch piracy a distinct crime.