Missouri Law Lets Thieves Scrap Your Classics

Thomas Kreutzer
by Thomas Kreutzer

Kansas City’s KCTV reported this week on an attempt to repair a 2012 Missouri state law that has led to a dramatic increase in car thefts. The law, which allows people to sell vehicles 10 years or older without a title, was originally intended to help rural property owners dispose of derelict vehicles and outdated machinery that would otherwise be left to rot. Criminals, however, soon discovered that they could scoop up virtually any vehicle that met the standard and sell it to scrap yards for a tidy profit.

The primary culprits, the story asserts, are crooked tow truck drivers. Old cars behind tow trucks are such an ordinary sight that cars can be taken in broad daylight. At the scrapyard, the drivers fudge the VIN or make other paperwork “mistakes” and escape with their payout before anyone notices. In many cases the cars are shredded before the owners can even report their theft.

Despite the fact that, in the wake of the law’s enactment, many Missouri police agencies noted an almost immediate rise in the number old cars being stolen, “Show-me” State leaders have allowed the situation to persist. Local Leaders, however, did act. Kansas City, for example, enacted a local ordinance directing scrapyards to hold vehicles for three days prior to disposal, but many of these laws can be avoided simply by taking vehicles to recycling centers outside of those jurisdictions.

The story ends on a hopeful note with news that one Missouri State representative, State Senator Jason Holsman, is looking to correct what he calls these “unintended consequences of the law.” But my personal experience is that the wheels of government often grind slowly and, until the situation is finally corrected, owners of old cars in Missouri need to watch their backs.

Thomas Kreutzer
Thomas Kreutzer

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  • -Nate -Nate on Mar 02, 2015

    Most of the folks I know who live(d) in Missouri , call it " misery " and either left or are working hard to leave A.S.A.P. . A sad state of affairs indeed . It's kinda rough on the neighborhood but you can always take the tags off and leave it in the street , better yet if you have scheduled street sweeping days , then it'll vanish pretty quick . I'm the guy many folks call to get rid of old klunkers because I make 100 % sure the paper work is followed through on at both ends . A few years ago a friend's old POC rattled it's way to a junkyard , I made sure I personally filled out and DMV paper works and filed them , kept copies... a month later a nice looking same make & model car was pulled over full of drunken Mexicans , they had slapper plates on it and claimed " I borrowed it from my girlfriend " ~ that didn't fly , when the Auto Theft Detail Detective called her she freaked and called me , one 'phone call took care of it . -Nate

  • CaseyLE82 CaseyLE82 on Mar 02, 2015

    Both of our cars, our 2005 Ford Taurus and our 2006 Ford Fusion would be either up for grabs at this point or about to be. What a sucky law!

  • Ajla There is inventory on the ground but as pointed out it is generally high dollar trims of high-dollar models and at least around here dealers still aren't budging off their mandatory nitrogen tires and Summer weather protection packages.You aren't paying '21-'22 prices anymore but it's still a long way to go.
  • Slavuta Every electric car must come with a film about lithium mining
  • Sobhuza Trooper Drop a good, high-strung German engine in this and you'd have American flair with German repair costs!
  • Kwik_Shift I'll just drive my Frontier into the ground as planned. Possibly find an older "fun" car to collect.
  • Lorenzo The solution is so simple: if the driver shifts into neutral without applying the parking brake, the horn sounds and lights flash until the parking brake is applied. After the third time, the driver should be insulted by a voice saying, "Shouldn't your wife be driving?", or "Where did you get your license - Dollar Store?"