Runestad reminds residents to safeguard against ‘porch pirates’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Thursday reminded residents ordering Christmas gifts online to take steps to prevent mail theft.

“With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us and nearly three weeks of Christmas shopping ahead of us, we are squarely in the middle of the busiest online shopping season of the year,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Increased online shopping means an increased number of packages arriving at our doorsteps. We must remember to safeguard against ‘porch pirates’ looking to take advantage of easy targets.”

Runestad said residents should have a plan in place to check their mailboxes regularly and pick up mail as close to the time of delivery as possible.

“If mail is suspected missing, report it to your local police station immediately and be specific about what may have been stolen; reporting mail theft is essential to impeding its spread,” Runestad said.

2019 is expected to be a record year for mail theft in Michigan, and while there are federal penalties in place, Runestad said they aren’t effective.

In response to this growing problem, Runestad introduced Senate Bill 23, now Public Act 48 of 2019. The new law creates state penalties for mail theft, giving more options for state prosecution of these crimes.

“This law goes into effect on Monday, Dec. 16,” Runestad said. “The law will help provide peace of mind as the ability to prosecute and punish these thieves increases.”

For more information on the new law and ways to keep your packages safe, see the Sen. Runestad: Porch Pirates video. Select Video under the “In the News” tab, above.