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Many people have packages delivered over the holidays. It’s simply a convenient and sometimes necessary way to get the things you need. Unfortunately, the rise of package delivery has also coincided with the rise of something else – porch piracy.

Porch pirates are the moniker assigned to those who steal packages off people’s porches. It’s something that is occurring everywhere, including in North Carolina. One Charlotte woman reported that, in a matter of just three weeks, she was struck by porch pirates several times.

One can only assume that porch piracy will continue to rise over the holiday season. If you’re considering joining the ranks of those that steal packages from porches, you may want to think again. That’s because taking packages from porches can lead to North Carolina larceny charges – and perhaps federal mail theft charges, too.

North Carolina Theft Laws

In North Carolina, theft is often referred to as larceny – and larceny is a felony in the state. Generally, larceny is regarded as any crime in which the property of another is taken with the intention of depriving someone of it permanently.

Some examples of larceny offenses in North Carolina include:

  • Concealing merchandise in a store
  • Possessing or receiving stolen goods
  • Felony larceny of motor vehicle parts
  • Taking a shopping cart from the premises of a store

These are just some examples, but if you take packages from someone’s porch, then you could be charged with larceny of stolen goods.

Penalties for Larceny in North Carolina

Just as in many other states, the seriousness of the larceny offense and subsequent penalties depend on the value of the merchandise, services, or property taken. In most cases, you will be charged with a Class H felony for theft in North Carolina, unless there is a specific statute that states otherwise.

There are also petty misdemeanor crimes in North Carolina, which are divided into different classes. They are:

Class 2 and Class 3 Misdemeanor Larceny

These levels of larceny are only associated with the concealment of goods from a store. First-time offenders likely face Class 3 misdemeanor larceny in the state, which can result in being ordered to complete a certain number of community service hours.

However, a second offense within three years of the first will lead to a Class 2 misdemeanor. This will result in a suspended sentence with the understanding that the perpetrator will complete community service.

Class 1 Misdemeanor

If someone takes property that is worth less than $1,000, they will likely face charges for a Class 1 misdemeanor. If they have a clean criminal history, then they may only face up to 45 days in jail.

Felony Larceny

As mentioned, felony larceny is often a Class H felony, and it’s charged in cases where the property taken was worth more than $1,000. This will always be charged in the state in cases where the theft occurred due to burglary, when the items are taken from a person, or if the property taken is a firearm or explosive device.

Penalties for Larceny in North Carolina

A Class H felony can lead to up to eight months in jail.

Federal Mail Theft

The United States Postal Service is a federal institution, so taking mail from the porch of another can also result in federal mail theft charges. That can lead to up to five years in prison and fines of as much as $250,000.


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