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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri house bill to increase the penalties for porch pirates cleared an important hurdle toward becoming law.

HB 825 passed the House Thursday and is now in the state Senate.

In video from November, a woman is seen taking a package from William Bates’ Kansas City, Missouri porch.

She likely didn’t know only a box of paper towels was inside. But, weeks later, Bates believes the same woman came back, this time stealing a TV stand.

“People shouldn’t do this,” Bates said. “It does cause inconvenience in other people’s lives.”

A possible repeat offender, like in Bates’ case, could pay dearly under HB 825. If passed, the first offense would be a Class A misdemeanor. That could mean one year in jail, a $2000 fine, or both, if convicted.

But, if the person is caught again, it becomes a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

Missouri state representative Adam Schwadron (R- St. Charles) is the bill’s sponsor.

“I think it is an opportunity for us to update our laws to reflect our society,” Schwadron said. “We are, I feel, able to reduce the recidivism rates by having that stiffer set penalty, because people do make mistakes.”

In Overland Park, Alex Smith thumbs through her wedding album from her big day in June 2019.

FOX4 showed you video in December when Smith’s original album was stolen off her porch, along with a picture of her late grandfather, seconds after the delivery driver pulled away.

A similar Kansas House bill died this session, but its sponsor – and Smith – hope it can be passed next year.

“Things do take time,” Smith said. “But, if Missouri is going to set that example, then I don’t think there’s any reason that Kansas shouldn’t follow suit with that.”