May 5, 2020 Seattle has a high rate of “grab and run” thefts, in which so-called porch pirates steal packages from doorsteps. In fact, The Seattle Times named the Emerald City as the fifth-worst metropolitan area for packages stolen from porches in 2019. While this type of theft is more common during the holidays, it can happen at any time of year. In a KIRO Radio interview, SPD Sergeant Sean Whitcomb described how the Seattle Police Department handles package thieves known to tail delivery trucks. “We followed them too with undercover detectives, so it’s like it’s this game of cat and mouse.” Beyond that, Seattle police look for trends in the location and times of reported package thefts to help them determine “where it’s happening and more likely than not who’s doing it.” Whitcomb goes on to explain, “Because so many of these crimes are done by the same people, they’re prolific offenders.” Package theft is a type of mail theft under both Washington State and federal law, and mail theft can carry hefty sentences. A federal court can impose a sentence of up to 5 years for stealing even a single letter from the mail. Washington law is a bit laxer, in that its class C felony of mail theft requires that the alleged porch pirate steals from numerous addresses or from the same address more than once. First offenders will likely be charged with petty theft, a misdemeanor that comes with a $1,000 fine. Aggressive, diligent legal counsel can often help reduce the severity of the outcome. Despite the watchful eye of neighbors, surveillance tactics by police, the use of cameras and other defenses against porch pirates, package theft can be difficult to prove. Without a witness, police can do little more than take note of any individual incidence of porch piracy in a neighborhood. If others in the same neighborhood report the same problem, police are more likely to investigate. To be charged with grab and run theft, a suspect would need to be both directly linked with the crime and in possession of the items. After arrest, a number of factors can influence the outcome of a grab and run. Being caught on camera is not always enough proof to link a suspect with the crime, for instance. The suspect can face additional charges, depending on the contents of the package and what happens to those contents after the package is stolen. Stealing a package containing prescriptions or other personal items carries a heavier charge, for example, and selling the contents can result in additional charges If you have been charged with package theft, obtain legal counsel quickly from a civil defense lawyer. Your Seattle criminal defense lawyer can ensure you get a fair trial, no matter the charges. Contact The Nahajski Firm Criminal Defense today.