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HB 94 makes porch piracy a felony in Georgia

If you’ve ever ordered a package and had someone else take it straight from your doorstep, you may have been a victim of a “porch pirate.” Porch pirates are people who look for packages that have been delivered to people who may not be home or present to bring it in right away.

In Georgia, it is now a felony to steal a package from someone’s property. According to the new law, HB 94, a person could face imprisonment for up to five years if they are convicted of stealing someone else’s mail. This includes packages. Additionally, if someone is caught with at least 10 pieces of mail that have come from three or more mailboxes or addresses, they can be charged with another charge: felony theft by possession of stolen mail.

Could someone be falsely accused of being a porch pirate?

Yes, and it has happened in the past. For example, if you know that your neighbor goes to work every day and see an Amazon delivery has been left in an obvious place where porch pirates could see it, you may decide to pick up the package and take it home until your neighbor comes back. If you leave no note and forget to return the package to them that day, you could end up facing accusations of stealing even though you had good intentions.

What should you do if you want to help out a neighbor with a package?

If you really want to help, talk to your neighbor about their deliveries and if they’d like you to hold them for them until they get home. If they say no, then stay off the property and let what happens happen. If they agree, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself. Finally, if you have never asked but want to take in a package that is being rained on, for example, leave a note in an obvious place and be sure to let them know immediately when they return home that you have their package.