New Mexico - Chop Shop Felony Bill Unanimously Clears 2nd Committee

SANTA FE — Cracking down on New Mexico’s stolen vehicle black market, House Bill 145 unanimously advanced through the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday with a 11-0 vote and will be heard next in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

With bipartisan sponsorship from Meredith A. Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), and William “Bill” R. Rehm (R-Albuquerque), House Bill 145 establishes illegally dismantling a stolen motor vehicle, as well as owning, operating, maintaining, or controlling a “chop shop,” as a third-degree felony.

“New Mexico has a rampant auto theft problem. As these crimes continue to increase, more New Mexicans will suffer from stolen vehicles, and every New Mexican will be affected by increased insurance costs,” Rep. Dixon said. “House Bill 145 makes owning and operating chop shops illegal, and cuts out this critical link in the auto theft chain.”

“With an auto theft rate (per capita) almost double that of neighboring Arizona and Texas, it’s high time to take action to halt chop shops in our state,” Rep. Garratt said. “By criminalizing perpetrators contributing to each step of the process, we can disrupt this rampant black market that continues to victimize everyday New Mexicans.” 

“A vehicle that’s been chopped and sold for parts is worth at least three times more than one that’s intact. That’s what makes chop shops so lucrative,” said Rep. Rehm, a retired police officer, and former auto-theft detective. “House Gill 144 will help bring metal thieves to justice and help curtail the recurrence of these crimes in New Mexico.”

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