Chop Shop Felony Bill Unanimously Passes House

NM House Democrats News:

SANTA FE — Disrupting New Mexico’s black market for stolen vehicles by making illegally dismantling a vehicle or running a “chop shop” a third-degree felony, House Bill 145 unanimously passed the House of Representatives Thursday. 

House Bill 145, Crime of Illegally Dismantling a Vehicle, holds bipartisan sponsorship from Meredith A. Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque), William “Bill” Rehm (R-Albuquerque) and Senator Martin Hickey (D-Albuquerque). 

“Law enforcement officers have come to the legislature and asked us to make it easier to prosecute those who are driving demand for stolen vehicles and helping this market thrive in New Mexico,” Rep. Dixon said. “House Bill 145 will crack down on the chop shop operators who are profiting off of auto theft victims and leaving the rest of us with higher insurance rates.”

“Chop shops, or locations that dismantle and disguise stolen vehicles, are a key link in the auto theft black market,” Rep. Garratt said. “The goal of House Bill 145 is to prosecute the criminals at the core of this problem, deter car theft, and increase public safety in New Mexico.”

“As a retired police officer and former auto-theft detective, I’ve seen car thefts plague our communities for years, while ‘chop shop’ owners make huge profits and skirt by on the edge of the law,” Rep. Rehm said. “House Bill 145 pins down these criminals for their direct role in the crime chain which leads to everyday New Mexicans having their vehicles stolen.” 

After passing the House with a unanimous 68-0 vote, HB 145 will be heard next in the Senate. 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.