Automatic jail time proposed for repeat car break-in thieves

Up and down Queen Street — auto body row — KHON2 found car repair specialists who said they had their hands full with cars that had been vandalized, especially windows broken by thieves.

“A normal thing now days, Kirk. It happens a lot. Just breaking in, taking purses. Stuff like that. There’s quite a bit of it in all the shops here in Hawaii,” said Billy Dias with Auto Body Repair.

Dias is not the only one to notice an increase in the number of car break-ins.

“I would say here in the Honolulu market, we’re starting to see an uptick of the number of claims for break-ins, as well as thefts of vehicles and motorcycles as well,” said Larry Welsch with State Farm Insurance.

The Honolulu Police Department supports a bill that would increase penalties for repeat offenders.

In 2012, there were 6,000 cases of vehicle break-ins and 2013 saw even more.

“So this measure is designed to address those concerns of the community to try to get a little stronger on these individuals, in particular the repeat offenders,” said Sen. Will Espero (D) Ewa Beach.

Under the proposal, there’d be no second chance for someone convicted of breaking into a car a second time — mandatory jail.

Sen. Espero says the punishment should be more severe with each offense.

“There has been an increase. Usually during the holiday season, there’s more of an increase in these break-ins. But now, it’s a lot of random stuff now. People just breaking in,” Dias said.

In Hawaii, insurance agents get calls from locals and visitors alike.

“It seems like the other areas are the tourist areas. They rent a car and they go to a state park beach and they leave the car there,” Welsch said.

The bill would have its first hearing on Friday at 10 a.m.

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