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Colorado auto theft leads the nation, legislation will hold criminals accountable

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jun 29, 2023

COLORADO — The penalty for stealing a car in Colorado will get a lot heftier starting Saturday. Colorado is the number one state for car thefts, according to the Common Sense Institute.

At the time of publishing, if a car is valued under $2,000, stealing this car is a class one misdemeanor. That will change when Senate Bill-97 takes effect on Saturday. The bill makes stealing a car at any value a felony.

News5 spoke with Katie Lawrence who had her car stolen from outside of her house in 2016. In a panic, Katie filed a police report and was able to find her car in a campground in Cañon City. The car had been spray painted a different color and had been tampered with.

That was not the end of the car drama for Katie. She recently had a second car of hers stolen. Having been a victim of car theft twice, she says Senate Bill 97 is much needed.

"As someone who has had my car stolen from me twice, I feel like maybe it would be a deterrent to somebody. It would also make police more active in pursuing the people who steal the cars," said Lawrence.

Colorado Springs Police Department said it supports this change in legislation because it will help hold more criminals accountable.

 “What it adds to this is almost every crime that is committed that involves a vehicle, those vehicles are stolen, and they're used from theft all the way up to armed robbery and other violent crimes, and as a result, we're going to have an added felony that will impact their ability to go out and steal a car and them commit other crimes,” said Robert Tornabene, Senior Public Communications Supervisor of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Police hope this will discourage people from stealing cars. Last year, 40,000 cars were stolen in Colorado and 3,900 arrests were made.

Talk of this bill has already had an impact. According to the state, car thefts are already down 22 percent this year compared to last year.
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