July was National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and the good news is that car thefts are declining in Maryland, while Anne Arundel County has remained flat. In 2020, vehicle thefts declined for the fourth straight year. While this is great news, Maryland State Police and the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council are hoping to do more to get the theft rate down even lower.
In Maryland, a car is stolen every 49 minutes. Vehicles are usually stolen for transportation purposes, the resale or distribution of parts, exportation, or for the commission of other crimes.
In most cases, stealing a vehicle isn’t even that hard for thieves. Approximately 60 percent of stolen vehicles are left unlocked, while in half of all cases, the drivers left the keys inside the vehicles. One-third of drivers left their vehicle while it was running, allowing thieves to easily take off. Two-thirds of vehicle thefts happen at night. Ninety-five of stolen vehicles have no anti-theft devices.
In 2020, there were 10,683 vehicles stolen in Maryland. This is compared to 13,847 in 2016, In 1994, there were 38,194 stolen vehicles. While there has been a decline in thefts, at the same time, there has been an increase in carjackings. Maryland recorded 1,015 carjackings in 2020. This is compared to 807 in 2019.
Vehicle theft is serious business. A thief can strip down a car in less than 30 minutes. Fifty-two percent of stolen vehicles are never recovered.
Vehicle theft in Maryland is considered a felony. However, the State has the option to proceed under the General Theft Statute, which means that the value of the stolen item is what dictates the penalty. The more valuable the item, the stricter the penalty.
Vehicle theft is punishable by five years in prison as well as a $5,000 fine. The defendant would also have to either return the vehicle to the victim or pay the owner the full value of the vehicle.
Penalties are also based on the defendant’s prior criminal record. If the person has no prior record, then there is the opportunity for reduced penalties. If the person does have previous crimes on their record, on the other hand, they could face enhanced penalties, such as more jail time or increased fines.
Thefts are common in Maryland. While it may be tempting to steal a vehicle, especially a sports car or luxury vehicle, doing so can result in serious criminal charges, including fines and jail time.
If you have been accused of theft, seek legal help from a Columbia theft lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Our aggressive legal representation will help you protect your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987. We have two offices to serve you.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044