In another example of unintended consequences, a change in Missouri law designed to make it easier to dispose of older, junk cars without a title is being blamed by some police officials for an increase in stolen vehicles, reports the Kansas City Star. Police in the St. Louis area have seen a big surge in stolen vehicle reports since the law pertaining to vehicles 10 years old or older took effect in August. Investigators in other parts of the state say they have noticed a similar trend.
“We have definitely seen an increase in the thefts of older cars,” said Brad Greiner of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The law allows for the sale of “inoperable” vehicles 10 years or older to salvage yards. The seller does not have to have the vehicle's title but must provide a photo ID. The dealer purchasing the vehicle must first check an online database to make sure there are no liens. The buyer has 10 days to submit transaction paperwork to the state, and that information is entered into a database of junked and salvaged vehicles. “That 10 days is our biggest problem,” Greiner said. Salvage yards usually crush the cars soon after purchasing them, he said. “Even if we get a hit (on a stolen vehicle) the car would be long gone at that point,” Greiner said.