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Lansing – Bills going to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would make it a state-level crime to steal mail, including packages left on doorsteps.

The Legislature gave final approval to the legislation Thursday. It is a bid to combat rising reports of thefts as people who increasingly shop online are targeted by “porch pirates.”

Supporters say the measures are needed because ID thieves and package stealers are not being punished under federal laws, and there are gaps in existing state laws related to the theft of checks.

Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, collaborated with prosecutors, police departments and the postal inspector to develop and introduce the legislation, which he said is needed to address the "explosion" of mail thefts in recent years. Between 2017 and 2018, 17,000 Amazon packages went missing in Michigan alone.

"It's definitely a real problem," Runestad said. "This is going to give them the ability to go after all of these cases.”

Whitmer is expected to sign the bills.

A first offense for mail theft would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. A repeat offense would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

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