State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and State Sen./former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) announced today that they will introduce a bill increasing criminal penalties for motor vehicle theft, in light of a recent increase in carjackings.
“Our local communities have been faced with steep increases in car theft since 2020,” Bucco and Codey said in a joint statement. “New Jersey saw a 22% increase in car thefts in 2021, and 2022 numbers are on track to surpass that total. This legislation would provide new tools for law enforcement to keep repeat offenders off the street.”
Specifically, the bill would increase penalties for stealing a motor vehicle or receiving a stolen motor vehicle, allow for extended terms for repeat offenders, and increase penalties on leaders of carjacking rings. Bucco and Codey said they will hold a press conference on the bill tomorrow in West Orange.
The bill echoes a similar push from Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), who called for a national auto theft task force last month.
“This is [a] pervasive problem,” Gottheimer said of the national rise in carjackings. “It’s a national, homeland security concern, requiring the involvement of federal law enforcement.”