What Are the Criminal Penalties For Stealing a Package From a Porch?

St. Charles theft defense attorney

In December 2018, a video titled “Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap” was posted on YouTube. The video, which has since garnered over 79 million views, shows unsuspecting individuals stealing packages from porches. Once they try to open them, the packages spray glitter all over the place and record their reactions through a built-in camera. As more and more people use online shopping and delivery, concerns about the theft of packages continue to increase. In Illinois, stealing a person’s mail is a major criminal offense with significant penalties. If you or someone you know has been accused of stealing a package from someone’s property, speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to learn about your legal options.  

Taking a Package May Result in Significant Jail Time

Law enforcement and legislators are becoming increasingly vigilant about package theft in the United States. According to one survey, about 30 percent of Americans have had at least one package stolen from their property. Theft of items valued at less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor offense in Illinois. If convicted of misdemeanor theft, a person may be sentenced to jail for up to one year and required to pay a fine of up to $2,500, in addition to paying for losses caused by the theft. However, if the offender has a previous theft-related offense on his or her record, the charge may be elevated to a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If the value of the stolen items was between $500 and $10,000, this is a Class 3 felony offense punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, in addition to payment of restitution.

Package Theft May Constitute Burglary or Federal Charges

If an individual enters another person’s property during an alleged package theft, he or she could also be charged with burglary. For example, if the alleged theft occurred in a sunroom, mudroom, enclosed porch, or inside the home, this may meet the criteria for a burglary charge. Burglary is a Class 2 felony offense in Illinois, and it is punishable by up to seven years in prison. A person could also face federal charges for stealing a package from someone’s property. Mail theft is in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1708, and this offense carries harsh penalties, including up to five years’ imprisonment for each offense.

Contact an Illinois Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of taking someone else’s package, you could be charged with theft, burglary, or federal mail theft. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime and your past criminal history, you could face a prison sentence of five years or more. For help defending against any theft-related charges in Illinois, contact a St. Charles criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. Call our office today at 603-505-5200 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.