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Modern-Day ‘Pirates’ Being Charged with Theft


People have busy lives and often don’t have time after work, school, or other obligations to go shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, they head online and purchase what they need from sites such as Amazon or Target. A few days after the purchaser places the order, a courier service will deliver the items to their home.

If the buyer is not at home, the delivery person may leave the package on their doorstep. Often, it will sit outside for hours until the homeowner gets back. Unfortunately, unattended items are attractive to what are referred to as porch pirates.

What Is a Porch Pirate?

A porch pirate is a person who takes packages left on other people’s doorsteps. Such conduct is becoming more common as an increasing number of people use the internet to purchase items.

Possible Charges for Porch Piracy

In Wisconsin, a porch pirate could face several different offenses for stealing items from another person. A man and a woman were recently charged with theft and receiving stolen property. They admitted to taking some of the packages directly from other people’s doorsteps but had found others discarded in some bushes.


A person is charged with theft when they intentionally take movable property of someone else without first having received consent for doing so. The classification of this offense depends on the value of the item stolen. For instance, it’s a Class A misdemeanor for taking something worth up to $2,500. The charges elevate to a Class F felony if the item(s) is valued at $100,000 or more.

Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property occurs when someone knowingly or intentionally accepts an illegally obtained item. As with theft, the charges for this type of crime depend on how much the object(s) is worth. For example, it’s a Class A misdemeanor to receive something valued at up to $2,500. If the property’s value is over $10,000, the person could be charged with a Class G felony.

Home Surveillance & Porch Pirates

These days, many people have surveillance or doorbell cameras on their homes, which catch porch pirates on video. Law enforcement officials in Wisconsin, and across the country, have used such footage to ask the public for help in apprehending a suspect. For instance, a Madison man was arrested and charged with theft after the police department released an image of him taking packages from porches.

Get Effective Legal Counsel from the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella

If you found and took an unattended package, you could be accused of committing a criminal offense. Our attorney is ready to provide the legal representation you need to fight charges.

For hard-hitting defense in Milwaukee, call us at (414) 882-8382 or schedule a free consultation online.

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