State leaders unveil plan to fight carjackings

Posted at 12:48 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 14:48:31-05

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    St. Louis, MO (KMOV) — The number of carjackings in St. Louis and the state are on the rise and it’s getting the attention of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Monday morning, Schmitt announced a new law to fight carjackings. The plan is to introduce a new state law that allows law enforcement to more effectively prosecute and document carjackings.

The law would let prosecutors charge a carjacker with motor vehicle hijacking rather than a broad robbery charge, which is the current case.

Schmitt said this separate statue allows more accurate tracking and increases the carjacker’s sentence.

The main issue with prosecuting and reporting carjackings in Missouri is the lack of a uniform charge or sentencing. Some carjacking incidents are charged as first degree robbery, second degree robbery or stealing. This can lead to Class A, Class B or Class D felonies.

With a carjacking statute, the baseline classification is a class B felony, but the use of deadly weapons or dangerous instruments as well as the victim being a child under 17 or a special victim would elevate the offense to a class A felony.

Essentially, if a suspect attempts or commits a carjacking with a gun, the minimum sentence would be 10 years, with the highest possible sentence being life in prison.

“There’s always more we can do, and should do – especially while Missourians continue to worry about falling victim to violent crime in their own neighborhoods. Grandfathers shouldn’t have to worry about having their cars violently stolen on the streets they’ve lived on for years, and families shouldn’t have to avoid certain parts of town for fear that they’ll be carjacked.” said Schmitt during the press conference.

News 4 has reported on three recent carjackings: A nurse who was carjacked on a hospital parking lot, a carjacking outside a West County restaurant and one that took place in a Schnucks parking lot.

In 2018, city police records showed 350 carjackings in St. Louis City alone. In January, records show city police investigated 26 carjackings.

Schmitt and several other state leaders including State Senator Bob Onder and State Representative David Gregory announced the anti-carjacking plan.

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