NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – If you decide to be a grinch this holiday season, you could end up with an even bigger lump of coal in your stocking.
“It’s not just happening here in New Jersey. It’s happening all across our country,” said Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18th District).
Whether you’ve been a victim or know someone that has, porch pirates are real-life Scrooges. This year, a new state law brings stiffer penalties against these thieves.
“We don’t want to see that anywhere in the State of New Jersey,” said Karabinchak.
Assemblyman Karabinchak was a primary sponsor of the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law in January. The bi-partisan legislation ups the penalty for stealing a package delivered to a residence. It’s a 3rd-degree crime with a max sentence of 5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
“Potential thieves, think twice,” said Karabinchak. “Don’t do it.”
“Hopefully, having these enhanced penalties will deter some porch pirates from committing these thefts,” said Edison Deputy Police Chief Robert Dudash, Jr., who urges people to remain proactive. “Having a secure lock box that packages could be delivered into, that can be kept on someone’s porch, of course having some sort of a doorbell camera is a great deterrent, also great for evidentiary purposes, as well as cameras around their home.
He said you could also ask a neighbor to take in your package while you’re gone, reminding you to be mindful of the earlier nightfall.
“Now, with the clocks turned back and lighting becoming an issue in the early evening, having more than ample lighting around a person’s residence, especially the porch area,” Dudash said.
Porch pirates have also been menacing New York City.
The NYPD is on the hunt for an alleged Amazon delivery truck driver who was caught on camera stealing packages from a home in Borough Park, Brooklyn back in October.
Police said if you’re a victim of this crime, you should waste no time contacting your local police department, and in your neighborhood, if you see something, say something.