MOSCOW, April 17 (RAPSI) - Irina Yarovaya, head of the State Duma's Security and Anti-Corruption Committee and member of ruling party United Russia, submitted a bill to the country's parliament that would ease penalties for a minor theft and toughen penalties for a theft that causes significant damage, according to Yarovaya’s press secretary.

If the bill is approved, the Code of Administrative Offenses would be amended to specify the value of stolen money considered insignificant. Stealing property worth less than 5,000 rubles ($98) (currently, 1,000 rubles, or $19) is considered petty theft. The bill introduces 50 hours of community work for non-aggravated petty theft of property by stealing, fraud, appropriation or embezzlement.

The bill also proposes adding an article to the Criminal Code regarding a repeated petty theft. The repeated offense would be punishable by 80,000 rubles ($1,600), custodial restraint or a prison sentence of up to two years. A repeated petty theft would be an offense committed within a year for an amount exceeding 1,000 rubles ($19) by a person previously charged with the same crime.

The punishment for a theft causing significant damage to a victim would be tougher. The damage caused must be at least 10,000 rubles or $196 (currently, 2,500 rubles or $49).

The bill was supported by the Russian Supreme Court and the Government.

Yarovaya recalled that the State Duma received two more similar initiatives. One is from the Communist Party and sets the minimum damage at 6,000 rubles ($117) for non-aggravated theft. The other is from the Republic of Bashkortostan and sets the limit at 2,000 rubles ($39).