Car thieves are still going after cars that are easy to steal in New York, but not ones that are particularly glamorous. They're apparently trying to steal them for scrap value, making old Ford Econoline prime targets. And because of a silly loophole in the law.
The New York Times reports that a New York state law more than 30 years old allows cars more than eight years old to be junked without a title – two forms known as MV-35 and MV-37 work instead. According to the Times, this is how big the problem is now:
There were 1,494 cars stolen in the city through March 23 of this year, a 12 percent increase over the same period the year before. Over a recent four-week stretch, 481 cars were reported stolen to the police across the city. About 70 percent of those were older than eight years.
Detectives believe many ended up smashed and shredded for scrap.
Oh, and 51 of the stolen vehicles this year were Ford Econolines, compared to 19 at this time last year.
Law enforcement is fighting the DMV to change the laws, and they're right to. Today, that law doesn't make sense, with the average age of a car now 11.4 years, according to the latest Polk study. Combine more old cars still on city streets with increasing scrap metal values, and the loophole makes this a significant issue.
It just makes it easier for thieves to go steal cars with worn ignition barrels or ineffective anti-theft systems, rather than new, expensive cars with advanced theft deterrents that can be resold or shipped out of the country.
For now though, if you own an old car in New York state, you might want to at least invest in The Club.