The Oregon Senate on June 19 passed a bill that will make it easier for prosecutors to secure more motor vehicle theft convictions, reports Willamette Week.
House Bill 2328 closes the state's stolen car loophole, which allows a person to avoid prosecution simply by saying they didn't know the car they were driving was stolen, reports KGW8.
Two previous attempts to pass similar bills failed in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.
Since 2014 when the loophole first appeared in an appellate court decision, auto thieves could avoid any legal consequences simply by claiming ignorance. Many say that due to that fact, vehicle thefts have skyrocketed across the state.
Oregon has experienced a 53% increase in stolen cars between 2012 and 2017, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Moreover, Willamette Week reports that Portland had the third-highest rate of motor vehicle theft of any major city in the nation.
The bill now awaits review and signing by Gov. Kate Brown.