Senate Passes Bill to Toughen Carjacking Penalties WHEN a Child Is Inside the Vehicle

Dean G. Skelos

March 26, 2013

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos, that would increase criminal penalties for carjacking a vehicle when there is a child inside.

 “Thefts of this nature not only traumatize children but place them at great risk of being physically harmed, either at the hands of the carjacker, by a stranger if the car is abandoned, or during a police chase,” Senator Skelos said.  “This bill would give prosecutors more tools to go after any criminal who jeopardizes a child as part of a carjacking.”

Less than two weeks ago, a woman and her 10 year old daughter were abducted in a carjacking in the Onondaga County town of Clay.  David Renz, 29, is charged with killing the woman and raping the child.  The mother died of stab wounds and the child escaped the vehicle and was helped by a passing motorist. 

 “We must do everything that we can to protect our children by helping to take predators off the streets,” Senator John A. DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), a co-sponsor of the bill, said. “Stiffer penalties may help to deter a criminal from actions like carjacking.  In the event that harsher penalties do not serve as a deterrent, the  offenders would be behind bars for longer periods of time.” 

 The bill (S1905) would make it a felony to carjack a vehicle with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.  The crime would be punishable by as much as 8 and 1/3rd to 25 years in prison.

 The bill was sent to the Assembly.