Florida Law Ups Penalties for Retail Theft, Porch Pirates

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Florida Law Ups Penalties for Retail Theft, Porch Pirates

Published: Apr 11, 2024
by Michael Guta
In Small Business News
0


retail theft

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has recently signed HB 549 with the goal of combating retail theft, porch piracy, and looting encouraged through social media. The bill increases penalties for these crimes to reduce theft and maintain the safety of Florida residents and businesses.

The United States Chamber of Commerce reports that organized retail theft has led to approximately 700,000 job losses nationwide, attributing this figure to economic losses surpassing $125 billion.

The provisions of the new law include:

  • A third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for retail theft involving five or more individuals.
  • A second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, for retail theft involving five or more individuals and the use of social media to solicit participation.
  • A first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, for retail theft involving a firearm or two or more prior retail theft convictions.
  • The ability to charge a felony for multiple retail thefts within a 120-day period, an increase from the previous 30-day limit.

Penalties for porch piracy have also increased:

  • Theft of property valued at less than $40 is a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • A subsequent violation is a third-degree felony.
  • Theft of property valued at $40 or more is a third-degree felony.

Similar Laws Being Passed in Other States

Pennsylvania also enacted a new law this year to crack down on looters and thieves, which was approved with strong bipartisan support in the state.

Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) introduced the bill after seeing the shocking reports of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities.

Senate Bill 596 imposes first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $50,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them.

In 2023 Alabama, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Oregon joined Texas and Virginia in implementing new retail theft laws.

Image: Depositphotos



Michael Guta
Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.



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