Assemblyman Dinowitz and State Senator Klein introduce bill to help stop theft of car wheels
Vehicle Identification Numbers would aid law enforcement in tracking stolen wheels
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) and State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/ Westchester) have introduced new legislation that would finally give law enforcement a tool to track down vehicle wheel thieves. The measure would require that vehicle identification numbers be engraved on the wheels of all motor vehicles sold in New York.
This measure would help deter the theft of alloy wheels, which account for more than 20 percent of all felony thefts in some police precincts in New York City. Current law offers law enforcement no tools to track this type of crime, as vehicle wheels have no identification. Valued anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a set of wheels from even a modestly priced vehicle, wheels are the most valuable item that can be removed from a vehicle with relatively little effort. By design, these wheels are easy to quickly remove with standard tools.
Similar measures have been implemented to prevent airbag and stereo theft and have proven widely successful, leaving wheels as the last frontier of accessory theft. This measure would allow citizens to report their wheels stolen and subsequently enable law enforcement to return the stolen goods to their owners. Currently, this is nearly impossible, due to the lack of identification on vehicle wheels. This bill will correct this problem and was crafted in direct consultation with the New York City Police Department to ensure it will accomplish its goals.
“This legislation will give law enforcement another weapon in its arsenal of crime fighting laws and will help make a major dent in one of the most common crimes in New York. It will save money and grief for thousands of people, and the only ones who will pay are the thieves,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “This legislation lets the people of the Bronx, New York City, and New York State as a whole know they can rest assured law enforcement has the tools they need to protect our citizens from would-be criminals.”
“This wave of criminal activity cannot be dismissed as petty thefts,” said State Senator Klein. “This legislation will make it tougher for thieves to profit from their crimes, as well as protect residents from having their property taken from them.”
The bills, A.7646 and S.5414, have been referred to the Transportation Committee in both houses. “We hope to see action before the end of this legislative session,” Assemblyman Dinowitz added