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La. lawmakers take aim at car burglars; new bill would increase penalties

1 year 4 months 1 week ago Tuesday, February 14 2023 Feb 14, 2023 February 14, 2023 6:21 PM February 14, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Whether you're cheering on the Tigers in Death Valley, or the Saints in the Superdome, nothing ruins a good time like seeing your car window smashed in the parking lot.

You can’t turn on the news without seeing obviously all the car burglaries that are happening, whether it’s in the Pelicans, Saints games. I think the other day there were 30 to 40 cars broken into," Laurie Schlegel, State Representative from Jefferson Parish, said.

Broken glass and missing belongings are becoming commonplace in parking lots near big events. Schlegel aims to change that with HB-16, a prefiled bill that, if passed, could harshen the penalty for thieves.

What this bill does, is, you will go to jail for this behavior. So, currently the law is around 0 to 12 years. This bill does an enhancement.”

With this enhancement, car burglars would go to jail for at least one year with no possibility of parole. The maximum sentence under this bill is 12 years.

Anyone who breaks into vehicles within one square mile of a sporting event, parade, musical or theatrical production, fair or festival would be subject to this proposed law. It also targets criminals who break into a string of vehicles in residential areas.

I got a phone call from a parent saying that their car was broken into and for them, it was kind of unsettling because their kid’s bedroom is 10 feet away from where their car is.”

Although the bill was sparked from multiple car burglaries in New Orleans, it would go into effect statewide if passed. HB 16 is expected to be considered in the upcoming legislative session beginning in April.

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