Senate passes “Triple trouble” bill for vehicle prowlers and thieves

February 8, 2017

Senate passes “Triple trouble” bill for vehicle prowlers and thieves

OLYMPIA—SB 5059, which increases penalties for motor vehicle property offenses, easily passed the senate this morning in a 46 to 2 vote (1 excused). State Senator Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, is the prime sponsor.

SB 5059 adds malicious mischief involving a motor vehicle in the first and second degree to the list of motor vehicle offenses that are triple scored in calculating an offender’s criminal history score. In addition, the seriousness level for seven vehicle property crimes is increased by one if the offender is being sentenced for the third or subsequent offense.

“This is not a bill penalizing kids who make a mistake,” O’Ban said. “This is a bill dealing with chronic property crime offenders, career criminals who have already been caught committing these crimes on multiple occasions. If they won’t stop stealing, we need to stop them from stealing again.”

Pierce County has been hit hard by vehicle property crime. Just last month, more than fifty vehicle break-ins were reported in Lakewood with thieves targeting the Lakewood Towne Center. In King County last month, a car prowl at a Sammamish park ended with the murder of a 22-year-old son of a Seattle officer.

“Car prowling and vehicle theft always leave a sense of violation, but they can also end in violence,” said O’Ban. “It’s serious crime and it’s time the penalties reflected that.”