The Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has sent a letter urging Governor Ige to sign House Bill No. 1486, HD2, SD1 (“HB 1486”) into law. HB 1486 will increase the penalty for felony theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles from a maximum five (5) year prison term to a maximum ten (10) year prison term. “We encourage the public to join us in support of the passage of HB 1486, share their concerns about how auto and motorcycle theft has affected our community, and request that Governor Ige sign this bill into law,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen.
Currently, most auto and motorcycle thefts are prosecuted as Theft in the Second Degree and/or Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree, both of which are only class C felony offenses punishable by a maximum five (5) year prison term. HB 1486, introduced by Representative Greggor Ilagan, State House District 4 representing lower Puna, establishes Theft of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles as a subsection of Theft in the First Degree, which is a class B felony offense punishable by a maximum ten (10) year prison term.
This past December, the Hawai‘i County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an online legislative initiatives survey. Of those 1,422 who participated in the survey, 1,265 or 89.21% supported establishing Theft of a Motor Vehicle as a class B felony offense. “By increasing the penalty for auto and motorcycle theft, we promote respect for the law, ensure that offenders
receive an appropriate sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offense, provide adequate deterrence for future criminal activity, and protect the public,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen.
Please submit your comments via the Governor’s website at https://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/comments-on-legislation/.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.