Auto theft bill wins House approval

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III, center, answers questions about a bill to fight car theft during a 2017 new conference with Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, left, Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, second from left, and Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, second from right, at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — The state House on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill aimed at combatting auto theft in New Mexico.

House Bill 52 would create a system for salvage yards and other auto recyclers to verify with the state Motor Vehicle Division that the vehicle they’re purchasing isn’t stolen. The state would also maintain a database of transactions to help law enforcement.

The legislation is jointly sponsored by Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque; Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City; and Rep. Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque.

The proposal comes after the Albuquerque area posted the highest per capita rate of auto thefts in the country for 2016, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

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