Ending The Porch Pirates Reign of Terror in Michigan… Redundantly.

man carrying pile of cardboard boxes
There’s nothing worse than ordering something you really need online, and then having the porch pirates carry it off before you can get it in the door!

Online shopping is not without risks. You might not get what you paid for, or the item you bought could arrive damaged – the victim of an overly enthusiastic postal worker. Perhaps the guy in the warehouse sent your item in the wrong color, or someone screwed up along the way and your item disappeared into the endless void of “lost mail”, never to be seen again. 

Either way, it’s a risk we all embrace every day as we select our items from endless online catalogs, add them to our carts and pay, and then settle in for what we expect will be a short wait. But what if your item manages to survive all those risks and you still don’t get it. What if it arrives on your doorstep, correct and intact and on time, only to be quietly stolen by the ubiquitous porch pirates that haunt every Amazon delivery site in the known universe. What then? 

What happens when porch pirates steal packages off your doorstep in Michigan?

Well, under Michigan’s brand new laws, signed just this month by Governor Whitmer, first-time mail fraud (which includes stealing packages off someone’s porch or doorstep) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Do it again and you’re facing a five-year felony. So surely the era of porch pirate is behind us, right? Certainly, no sane person would risk stealing a mystery package (which could easily include an everyday kitchen tool, a package of underpants, or a large print romance novel) only to spend a year or more behind bars. But wait…

Surely stealing other people’s mail wasn’t legal before these bills were signed into law, was it? Nope, it wasn’t. But it was a federal crime, which means it was only going to be investigated and prosecuted by the feds. So chances are, the snarky coffee mug you ordered that got nicked off your front porch by an enterprising porch pirate isn’t going to get a rousing response from the local FBI office. 

The feds often only get involved when there’s big money on the line.

Did someone steal $20,000 worth of car parts off your front porch? Well, chances are the U.S. Attorney’s Office will send someone around to ask a few questions and dust for fingerprints. According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has a very high threshold for the value of stolen items needed before they’ll investigate mail theft. That means the stuff someone stole from you better be worth a lot of money, or they’re not going to bother. 

“Unless a case of mail theft also involves identity theft, the federal government is not going to prioritize that crime for investigation and prosecution,” says Senator Jim Runestad, who sponsored these bills. “Tougher state laws and penalties against this crime will be a much more effective deterrent. The penalties in this legislation are quite reasonable and will allow local law enforcement to do their job.”

Being charged with mail theft is a serious crime in Michigan!

Whether it’s the feds or the local cops who’ve accused you of stealing other people’s mail – it’s a serious accusation! Being accused of being a porch pirate (mail fraud) can mean court fines, time behind bars, and even losing your job. So before you start this costly and time-consuming journey, make sure you’ve called The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 to ensure that a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is on your side right from the very start. We’ve handled theft crimes successfully for decades, and we can help you too.

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