It's the holiday season, and you know what that means? Package theft will be on the rise. Officers in Williamson County, Texas have been on the lookout for one prolific thief, active since mid October. Last week, they caught the culprit. Surprised? Don't be! According the Sheriff Chody and his Twitter account, "Williamson County doesn't play around." Evidently, the apprehended culprit stole packages containing both personal property and weapons.
Authorities Increasingly on the Lookout for Package Theft
Package thievery has increased with the rise of various delivery services, including Amazon Prime. This is often a crime of opportunity, and there's just a lot more opportunity these days. As a result, state and federal authorities have been hiring to help solve the problem, including using sting operations with fake shipments involving GPS tracking devices.
If Convicted, Possible Jail Time and Fine
It is a federal offense to tamper with or steal a package that is delivered through the US mail, UPS, and FedEx, for which a culprit can spend up to five years in jail and be hit with a sizeable fine. Stealing packages from other vendors is usually a state crime. Under most state laws, including Texas, the size of the fine is commensurate with the value of the package stolen. Think of this as a White Elephant Gift Exchange. You have no idea of the value of the package you are stealing, and therefore the consequential fine if you are caught. Keep in mind that theft is based on the act, not the intent, of the defendant. It doesn't matter if you meant to steal something worth under $100, and the package is actually worth $1,000. You get what you get, and throwing a fit is not going to help in this situation.
If you have been charged with a crime involving package theft, contact a local criminal defense attorney immediately. The sooner you can start formulating a defense, the better off you will be. Defenses are available, but many take time to develop. Make sure you give your criminal defense the best possible opportunity to defend you.