JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A bill filed in the House on Thursday, February 27 would elevate the punishment for anyone stealing an item from a vehicle in an attempt to decrease violent crime. The lawmaker behind it has said it's a law that enforcement officers have been asking for.
State Rep. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, filed HB 2666, which would breaking in and stealing from a car a felony. He said the current law only makes it a misdemeanor if the items taken are valued at less than $750.
“The problem here is that these these criminals are going in and breaking into people’s cars in driveways right outside their homes, on the streets, and they’re bringing guns with them,” Gregory said.
He also said law enforcement members have cited recent cases as reasons for concern. One involved a police officer being wounded while investigating a car break-in. Another involved a homeowner getting shot at after trying to stop a car break-in on his property.
“What this bill does is it tackles exactly that,” Gregory said. “If you’re going to steal any item from inside a vehicle, it’s still going to be a felony.”
Gregory said that, by making the crime a felony, prosecutors can also add a charge of armed criminal action if a weapon was involved. Armed criminal action carries with it a minimum 3-year sentence in Missouri.
He said he believes his proposed legislation would lead to fewer crimes and make neighborhoods safer.