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New York car thefts take a unique turn

Despite the fact that crime has declined in New York over the past 20 years, there have been many twists and turns during this time. All in all, car thefts are down 94 percent when compared to the 1990s. That said, thieves have a new plan in mind and are now targeting the heaviest and oldest vehicles on the road. This may not make a lot of sense, but there is a method to their madness.

Police said that a state law makes it easier for older vehicles to be sold for junk without much paperwork. This allows thieves to steal a car and subsequently junk it for cash, all without having to produce much documentation.

Due to a large number of car thefts 30 years ago, the state decided it was no longer necessary to require a person to have the title when junking a vehicle worth less than $1,250 and more than eight years old.

A state deputy inspector noted, "Say I have an old Dodge Caravan; I can scrap that without a title just by presenting a form and a valid ID. It's gotten to the point where it's almost common knowledge. Perps find out the easy ways to make money."

Through March 23 of 2014, 1,494 cars were stolen in New York City. This is an increase of 12 percent when compared to the same period from 2013. Police recently made arrests in a case that involved almost five dozen vehicles. One man is facing charges in connection with selling 15 stolen vehicles to a scrapyard.

It's important to remember that people charged with a crime are not automatically guilty. The prosecution must prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial. Those who are facing theft charges could benefit from the advice of a criminal defense attorney, who will ensure that their rights are protected as the case moves through the legal system.

Source: The New York Times, "For Car Thieves, the Older and Heavier the Ride, the Better" J. David Goodman, Apr. 08, 2014

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