The holiday season is in full swing, and as more consumers than ever are doing their holiday shopping online, millions of packages are being left unattended on doorsteps and in apartment lobbies. These unattended packages make for easy targets for thieves, and while it may not seem like a huge crime to take someone else’s delivery, it can easily add up to felony charges in Illinois, even if you take just one small box.
The reason you can be hit with a felony charge is because the severity of the charges you’ll face depend on the value of the product you are taking. Many porch pirates are hoping to score an expensive item when they take a package from someone’s doorstep, but that same high-value package can lead to felony charges. Here’s a closer look at how Illinois handles felony theft charges.
Felony Theft Charges For Porch Pirates
Under Illinois law, a person will be charged with misdemeanor theft if the value of the item or items stolen is less than $500. So in theory, a person could get caught with 20 packages in their vehicle after stealing from a residential neighborhood, but if all they got away with was a dog leash, some outlet covers, a new turkey baster and some other cheap goods, they may only face misdemeanor theft charges.
On the flip side, if a thief makes a spur of the moment decision to grab a package left in their apartment lobby and it turns out it was a new iPhone, they can face felony charges if they were caught. In Illinois, it is a Class 3 Felony to steal someone else’s property if the value of the items is between $500 and $10,000. This is punishable by between 2-5 years in jail and fines up to $25,000.
You’re probably thinking, “Good! People who deprive others of their packages and ruin the holidays for others deserve to face stiff penalties.” The problem is this law doesn’t do much to deter people from stealing packages. Few thieves are aware of the stiff penalties and still move forward with their crimes, but more often, young people who make a bad decision in the spur of the moment end up facing felony charges for a stupid mistake. A high school kid who takes a package off a porch in the heat of the moment shouldn’t have their life ruined and face jail time because of this dumb mistake. There should be consequences for their actions, but years in jail isn’t the answer.
So if you made a dumb mistake and are now facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges because you took a package or someone else’s property, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Appelman Law. We have a wealth of experience defending clients against theft charges, and even if it seems like an open and shut case, we have worked with many prosecutors to help reach agreements that can help you avoid jail and keep your life on track.
Don’t let a mistake cost you thousands and send you to jail. Let our experienced lawyers help you avoid a felony theft conviction, even if it’s through a plea deal with the other side. And if you or someone you’re with gets the urge to take a package off someone’s porch this winter, remember that doing so can easily result in felony charges depending on what’s in the box, so make the right decision and leave the package for its owner.
For more information or for assistance with your criminal charges, reach out to Appelman Law today at (630) 717-7801.