State law loophole allows stolen cars to be sold for scrap - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State law loophole allows stolen cars to be sold for scrap

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Did you know when someone takes a car to a scrap metal yard or junk yard to sell, that person doesn't need the car title if the vehicle is at least ten years old?

Some victims of car theft called WLOX complaining that because of this law, they'll never see their cars again. They want to change the current state law to prevent others from becoming victims.

"My car was stolen off the side of I-10. Mile marker 37, to be exact," said Ashley Cadle.

"It broke down on a Tuesday, December 7th and on Wednesday, December 8th, when we went back to pick it up, we passed by it at one o'clock and about 3:30 coming back it was gone."

Ashley Cadle filed a stolen car report with the Gulfport Police Department.

"The next thing I know on Thursday around 11:00, the cops called me and told me they found my car and it was already scrapped."

The police report indicated a 19-year-old had been arrested. The report also stated the suspect had sold Ashley Cadle's 1999 Pontiac to a local scrap metal dealer.

Current state law allows anyone to sell a car to a scrap metal dealer without a title, if the car is 10 years or older. The seller just has to show a driver's license and sign an affidavit stating that the car is his. The buyer has to wait three days before they can crush the car.

Former State Senator Billy Hewes worked to get this law passed after Hurricane Katrina because anything with copper, aluminum and other metals were being stolen and sold for scrap.

"We passed a pretty comprehensive law and a lot of states have followed our lead doing that," Hewes said.

I asked him whether the law needs updating to require all cars being sold for scrap metal to have a title. No title = no sale.

"That's the nature of laws. Sometimes you have to tweak them, because a lot of times criminals adapt. And we have to adapt the laws to make sure they don't do the things they're doing."

Jewel Tate agrees. She, too, was victimized when her 1999 Mercedes was stolen and sold for parts, along with four others.

"Someone should notice something is wrong anytime a person comes with a number of cars with no titles and gets little or nothing for it," Tate said. "So the law definitely needs to be changed."

If you believe the state law should be updated, making it a requirement to present a car title for all sales at scrap metal yards or junk yards, contact your local state representative. You can find contact information for all Mississippi representatives by clicking here, and for Mississippi state senators by clicking here.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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