PA lawmakers pass bill cracking down on porch pirating

The Pennsylvania Capitol rotunda Christmas tree after Gov. Josh Shapiro held a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 5, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

December 20, 2023

Pennsylvania lawmakers passed legislation with strong bipartisan support to crack down on porch pirating or mail theft. The bill increases penalties based on offenses and the worth of the stolen property.

Lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a bill this holiday season that would clamp down on those who steal packages or gifts from someone’s porch.

Senate Bill 527, which was introduced by State Sen. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro last Thursday and aims to crack down on “porch pirating” by changing how mail theft is handled and increasing penalties for each time someone is caught stealing mail packages.

“With online shopping being a growing method of commerce, package thefts have been on the rise nationwide. It’s time to hold these thieves accountable,” Farry said in a statement. “This bill focuses on repeat offenders by using a grading system that would increase the penalties if the thief had prior convictions for theft of mail.”

First time offenders will receive a summary offense for their first offense and if the items stolen are less than $200. Those charges increase to a second degree misdemeanor for someone who is caught stealing a package under $200 for the second offense.

Those penalties increase to a first degree misdemeanor for first or second time offenders who steal mail packages that exceed $200 in value, and finally, someone could receive a third degree felony if they are caught stealing for a third time or if the value of what they stole exceeds $2,000.

The law passed both the House and the Senate with widespread support from both parties and the law goes into effect in February.


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.


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