Peru Implements Stringent Penalties for Cellphone Thieves

The government of Peru has introduced strict penalties for cellphone thieves, including the possibility of life imprisonment if the theft results in the death of a victim. These changes to the country’s penal code recently received approval from Congress. The aim is to address the alarming rise in mobile device theft across the nation.


  • Peru’s previous penal code did not include prison sentences for cellphone theft, but the authorities decided to revise the law due to the escalating rate of such thefts in the country.
  • In the first nine months of 2023, approximately 1.2 million cellphones were reported stolen in Peru, averaging more than 4,000 devices stolen each day, according to the country’s telecommunication authority.

Life Imprisonment and Graduated Penalties

Under the new penal code, stealing a cellphone will result in an initial penalty of 12 years in prison. This sentence can extend up to 30 years if the offender uses a weapon or explosives during the theft.
It’s worth noting that Peru already imposes life imprisonment for various other crimes, including femicides, kidnapping of young children, and sexual exploitation of minors, reflecting the nation’s commitment to public safety.



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