HARKER HEIGHTS, TX — Stealing packages could soon lead to jail time for mail thieves.
James Brown of Harker Heights said he has fallen victim to the crime.
"I came home one day from work and there was torn up envelopes on the right hand side of my driveway. And it was bills that had been sent to me," said Brown.
He felt like his privacy was violated.
"Because the mail is supposed to be secure," said Brown.
The invasion sparked his decision to begin renting a mailbox.
"More secure here in this mailbox than it is in my mailbox up my driveway," said Brown.
And it turns out he is not the only one who has made the switch.
"Many. A lot of our box holders are people who have a home businesses, but the majority of them would be people that want to keep their packages from sitting on their porch or keep their mail from going in their neighborhood mailboxes even," said Jennifer McCann, owner of Eagle Express Mailing & Businesses Services.
"I've got friends living south of town and they have had stuff taken out of their mailbox quite often," said Brown.
And officials are taking note of the crime. Governor Greg Abbott signed a new bill that makes mail theft a felony with penalties depending on how much mail is stolen.
For example, if a person steals mail from at least 10, but fewer than 30 addresses, it will be considered a state jail felony.
And if the mail is stolen from more than 50 different addresses, it will be considered a first-degree felony.
House Bill 37 is set to go into effect Sept. 1.