Package theft

The Ins and Outs of Package Theft

Package theft

Package theft is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the act of snatching a package that doesn’t belong to you.

Recently it seems like there are more package theft stories than ever before. It turns out that this isn’t just because people are sharing package theft stories on social media sites. Instances of package theft are genuinely rising.

A recent study indicated that in 2019, at least 31% of all Americans have had at least one package stolen before they were able to bring the package into their home. Many of these same people have had multiple packages stolen off their front porch or out of their garages. It’s estimated that the average cost of each stolen package costs retailers $109 in replacement charges.

The main reason the number of package thefts that take place each day is mostly the result of so many people ordering items online. The increased online shopping means more packages are delivered while people aren’t home, which creates an increasing number of opportunities to steal packages.

Most of the stolen packages involve things like electronics, clothing, books, etc. These are items that can be replaced. The time it takes to replace the item isn’t usually a problem. There are always exceptions. The biggest exception is the theft of packages that contain prescription drugs. In many cases, the victim of the prescription drug package theft doesn’t have enough medication on hand to wait for a replacement package.

In California, package theft is covered by the state’s mail theft laws, which are addressed in Penal Code 530.5e PC. When you read the law, you’ll discover that “every person who commits mail theft, as defined in Section 1708 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.”

Mail fraud charges can be filed against you if:

  • You remove a piece of mail or package from a mailbox/receptacle that doesn’t belong to you
  • If you use deception or fraud to obtain mail or a package that doesn’t belong to you (such as not revealing your identity to the delivery driver)
  • Open a package that isn’t addressed to you and remove the contents
  • Hide a stolen package
  • Buy stolen mail or packages

The way California handles package theft is interesting. In most theft cases, the monetary value of whatever was stolen plays a huge role in how the suspect is charged. That’s not the case with mail and package theft in California.

The reason the stolen package’s value doesn’t come into play is because mail fraud deals primarily with identity theft.

If you’re convicted of mail or package theft, the potential penalties include:

  • Spending up to 12 months in county jail
  • Having to pay a $1,000 fine
  • Probation

The best way to spare yourself the ordeal of a package theft case is to leave unattended packages alone. If you’re charged with package theft in California, one of the best defenses you can use is that the entire incident was a mistake.


Consequences of rioting

Legal Consequences of Rioting in California

Consequences of rioting

These days it seems like rioting is on everyone’s minds. Every single day it seems like someone has questions about why riots start, when a protest crosses the line and becomes a riot, how riots should be handled, and what the legal consequences of rioting are in California.

What is a Riot

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the difference between a rowdy protest and a full-on riot. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a riot is:

“a: a violent public disorder specifically: a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent

b: public violence, tumult, or disorder”

In most cases, protests are designed to be peaceful. The problem is that it only takes a handful of people to turn a peaceful protest into a full-scale riot. The problem is that some people see the protest as a means of breaking the law. They attend the protest and use it as an opportunity to break into a business and loot the place. This creates panic and chaos. In the blink of an eye, what was just an orderly protest is out of control and all sorts of problems ensue.

The other reason so many protests devolve into riots is that the sheer number of people involved in the protest gives some a sense of anonymity. They feel safe enough to escalate their behavior and do things, such as swearing at cops and making threats, that they’d never do if they were on their own.

Rioting in California

Rioting in California is covered by the state’s civil disobedience laws. Destruction of property charges is often included in the charges.

The topic of rioting is covered in California’s Penal Code 404.6 PC. According to this law, you can be charged if you do things like:

  • Participate in a riot
  • Burn, destroy, or steal property during a riot
  • Knowingly commit acts of either force of violence during a riot

Consequences of Rioting in California

California’s lawmakers want everyone to carefully consider the consequences before they do anything that could be considered inciting or participating in a riot. They want you to realize that as soon as things start getting out of hand, you should remove yourself from the situation.
The penalties linked to rioting in California include:

  • Getting sentenced to up to 12 months in jail
  • Having to pay a $1,000 fine

In many cases, a civil disturbance charge that includes rioting represents just a small portion of your legal headaches. Depending on your behavior during the riot you could also be charged with property destruction.

If you damaged property or hurt someone during the riot, you could also face civil lawsuits.

When all is said and done, it’s in your best interest to put as much distance between yourself and a potential riot as possible.