The New York State Senate today passed legislation by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein , (D-Bronx/ Westchester), to deter car thefts by stiffening penalties for repeat offenders.
The measure, (S.1042/A.1286), would add a number of auto-theft related offenses to the list of prior convictions that would bump up a new charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle from a Class A misdemeanor to an E felony.
“When a car thief strikes, they are not only taking away a person’s property, but often their way to get to work, get to the doctor’s office, and safely transport their loved ones,” Senator Klein said. “This legislation will treat auto theft as the serious crime it is and target offenders who repeatedly try to disrupt the lives of hardworking New Yorkers.”
Currently, a car theft charge can be elevated if a person had a previous conviction within the last 10 years. However, this more severe penalty does not apply to other auto-related charges, such as auto stripping, or criminal possession of stolen property.
Senator Klein’s legislation closes this loophole by increasing the list of prior convictions to include grand larceny of a motor vehicle, first-degree car theft, auto stripping, criminal possession of a stolen vehicle, and illegal possession of a vehicle identification number.
The bill is pending in the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, (D-Bronx).