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Scholfield Honda advocates for stricter auto-theft laws after increase in total losses

Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 10:45 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Around 4 a.m. Saturday morning, a woman driving a stolen car with stolen tags crashed into Scholfield Honda’s lot on Kellogg -- damaging two of the dealership’s vehicles.

The incident isn’t the first time the dealership has dealt with car theft – and it’s left them with thousands of dollars in damage in just a few short seconds.

“Nobody was apprehended, yet we’re left with a pretty hefty bill,” Scholfield Manager Brad Cox said.

In a security video provided by the dealership, a blue Mustang with stolen tags hops the curb, crashing into two vehicles in the lot. As the car alarms flash, the driver tries to leave, but the car gets stuck -- that’s when she makes a run for it.

A Lexus and a Kia Sportage were damaged. The Lexus can likely be fixed and sold, but the Kia is a total loss, Cox said.

Cox also said, this situation highlights a bigger issue with auto-theft laws in Kansas.

“Car theft is just a misdemeanor and not a felony, so I think we’ve got a lot of thieves out there thinking they can steal a car.”

The destruction of property is also a misdemeanor if the damage is less than $25,000. Cox said it’ll be a close call.

“We’re estimating $5,000 in landscaping, $5,000 to one vehicle, and one vehicle is gonna be a total.”

Scholfield has even had some of their own cars stolen recently.

“We had eight vehicles stolen, we got a couple back. So six vehicles are total losses in the last year.”

An alarming increase that raises their insurance and costs them thousands of dollars.

That’s why he’s urging Kansas lawmakers to re-evaluate these auto-theft laws.

“Come to bat for the community and make these penalties stiffer to reduce the amount of stolen vehicles in our area.”

He thinks harsher penalties may prevent people from stealing cars, reducing crime, and keeping the streets safe.

Police are still looking for the suspect – they could face charges of auto-theft, criminal damage to property, and hit and run.

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