Holiday Theft: What Colorado Law Enforcement Is Watching For

Denver residents may love the story of the Grinch, but right now they are fighting back against real-life grinches who go around stealing presents and packages from their neighbors.

Denver7 has recently encouraged residents to speak up and hit record when they see “porch pirates” stealing packages. The station is committed to sharing and playing the videos they receive until thieves are caught.

It’s an important reminder: in this era of smartphones and doorbell cameras, it is easier than ever for people to be caught on camera and blasted all over social media.

Stealing packages from front doors is just one form of theft that Colorado law enforcement is looking out for this holiday season, however. There are many different types of theft, and it doesn’t take much for offenders to face felony theft charges – and their next holiday season behind bars.

What is theft, legally speaking?

Theft occurs in Colorado when a person “knowingly obtains or exercises control over” goods or property with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of those goods or property. Colorado also defines theft as the act of unlawfully exercising control over property with the intention of using that property temporarily or getting money back in exchange for the stolen property.

This is a broad definition, and it covers many different types of crimes in Colorado, including:


When the number of Secret Santas and gift recipients gets out of hand, it can be tempting to cut costs with a five-finger discount. However, shoplifting is still a form of theft. Any attempt to conceal goods that have not been purchased or tamper with theft detection devices could warrant shoplifting charges.

Theft by Resale of Ski Lift Ticket or Coupon

Theft by Resale of Ski Lift Ticket or CouponOf course our state has a specific charge for reselling ski lift tickets.

Colorado law states that “any unauthorized person who, with the intent to profit therefrom, resells or offers to resell any ticket, pass, badge, pin, coupon, or other device which then entitles the bearer to the use, benefit, or enjoyment of any skiing service or skiing facility commits a class 2 petty offense.”

Colorado also has separate theft charges for:

  • Theft of sound recordings
  • Theft of cable television services
  • Theft of public transportation services


Burglary is a form of theft that involves unlawful entry into a building or container with the intention to commit a crime. Stealing packages may be considered a burglary charge if the offender steps onto private property or breaks into a lockbox in order to steal the victim’s packages.

Like robbery, burglary convictions come with harsher penalties than a normal theft charge. Speaking of which…


Grinches who come face-to-face with residents as they come to pick up their package might face elevated charges if they don’t drop the package and run away. Namely, if the victim is present during the theft and the offender uses force or threats to deprive the victim of their property, the offender may be charged with robbery.

Why is this a big deal? Because while theft is a felony charge if the offender attempts to steal over $2,000 worth of merchandise, robbery is always a felony charge. In fact, aggravated robbery can be as serious as a class 3 felony.

 Colorado Package Theft AttorneySomething else to consider: the line between “porch piracy” theft and robbery may be crossed when the owner of the home opens the door. Offenders may quickly find themselves facing very serious charges this holiday season.

That being said, if you have been charged with any type of theft recently, you have options. A charge is not a conviction, and an aggressive defense can help you walk away this holiday season with the best possible outcome for you.


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.