AUSTIN, Texas — State Representative Gene Wu (D-Houston) has filed a bill to protect consumers against package thieves or "porch pirates."

The bill, H.B. 760, would increase the penalty for stealing packages addressed to the victim of a theft and from a victim's home.

Package theft is currently classified as either a Class C misdemeanor ticket or a Class B misdemeanor. 

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Rep. Wu made the following statement in regards to the bill:

"Package theft has been on the rise in recent years due to the increased market share of online shopping and home delivery services. Despite frequently having clear videos documenting the theft, these acts often go un-investigated, and the offenders go unpunished. I hope that this legislation can encourage prosecutions and deter would-be thieves who don't think the police would ever bother. 

As a lawmaker, I am always hesitant to increase criminal penalties, but this is a different situation. The current law is based on the value of the property stolen and not the nature of the theft. The value of most day-to-day deliveries would garner no more than a simple Class C ticket for the theft, and as such, law enforcement may be reluctant to spend scarce resources to track down a thief, and to issue a ticket. Additionally, stealing packages from a victim's own home is much more of a personal violation of a victim than compared to stealing a six-pack of beer from the gas station. 

More and more, Texans are having their groceries, prescriptions and daily items delivered straight to their door. Many of these thefts are taking place during work hours, when upstanding citizens are working hard to provide these delivered goods for their families. I want to ensure hardworking Texans are protected from these porch pirates."

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