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Gottheimer announces new legislation to combat organized auto theft

Helps Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Crack Down on Auto Theft

NEW JERSEY —  U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer on April 5 announced new legislation, the Combatting Auto Robbery at the Source — or CARS Act — to re-establish a National Auto Theft Bureau (NATB).

The NATB would facilitate increased information sharing and collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement to better combat sophisticated, multistate and multinational auto theft rings. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by former NYPD Detective, Congressman Anthony D’Esposito (NY-4).

Gottheimer also toured the New Jersey State Police Real Time Crime Center. This state-of-the-art facility unites the flow of information among state, county, and local law enforcement by distributing information in real time on auto thefts and crime.

“I believe, based on what we saw today and what law they’ve told me, the CARS Act will truly be a game-changer for law enforcement, our communities, and families. If we make the right investments into tracking theft and training, our law enforcement can do even more to stop organized auto criminals,” Gottheimer said. “To our law enforcement and the victims of auto theft here in Jersey, know that I stand with you. I want to make sure you get the support you need — both from Congress and federal law enforcement.”

“This bill giving us a true clearinghouse on specifically car thefts is really going to help us solve these crimes and get these criminals off the streets…We’re looking forward to this initiative,” said Pat Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. “Congressman Gottheimer has been an absolute asset to those of us in law enforcement in combating these major issues. He’s never not picked up the phone, and he’s never not offered a solution to some of the problems that we face in law enforcement in New Jersey.”

“Everybody is talking about auto theft,” said Wayne Blanchard, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association. “The statistics are alarming. It is an absolute epidemic. We’re proud to stand and support the CARS Act here today with the State Troopers Fraternal Association, our colleagues in law enforcement, and most importantly, one of our biggest supporters, Congressman Gottheimer. This bill gives our men and women the tools it needs – the intelligence, training, prevention, and always most important, funding…to go out and make New Jersey a safer place.”

“The State Troopers’ NCO Association is always proud to stand with Congressman Gottheimer. He stands for us and brings commonsense approaches or solutions to various issues we face everyday,” said Dan Oliveira, President of the State Trooper Non-Commissioned Officers Association (STNCOA). “The CARS Act goes further to come up with a rational solution to an issue now growing in the state of New Jersey: automobile theft.”

The Auto Theft Challenge in New Jersey:

  • Auto theft in Jersey has ballooned in recent years. The number of stolen vehicles jumped 20% between 2020 and 2021 and has increased by at least 5% year over year since then.
  • According to the New Jersey State Police, more than 3,000 cars in Jersey have been reported stolen so far in 2024 – an average of 36 stolen cars a day. More than 16,000 cars were stolen last year.
  • North Jersey has seen a particularly large surge in auto theft: in 2022, Bergen County saw a 50 percent increase in stolen vehicles.
  • According to the FBI, auto theft increased by 11% nationally and 38% in the Northeast in 2023. The nearly one million vehicles stolen in the United States last year were worth more than $20 billion.
  • According to the New Jersey State Police, there have been 53 carjackings so far this year, including disturbing cases in Edison and Totowa.

Gottheimer’s New, Bipartisan Legislation,  the CARS Act, will: 

  • Reinstate the National Auto Theft Bureau as a national clearinghouse for auto theft data.
    • This will help our local, state, and federal law enforcement share information in real time.
  • Provide training, resources and recommendations to private industry, the public, and law enforcement agencies on how to combat auto theft, including but not limited to specific designs that make a car more vulnerable to theft and online trends regarding auto theft.
  • Deliver grants to law enforcement agencies around the country to improve information sharing and implement best practices that have already been proven to mitigate car theft.

Gottheimer also highlighted his longtime efforts to fully equip law enforcement and crack down on auto theft. In April 2023, he convened a roundtable with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Port Newark leadership, and state and local law enforcement on collaborative efforts to combat the surge in auto theft and carjacking. He previously held a roundtable with local law enforcement on the broader increase in burglaries and thefts, including the epidemic of burglary rings. In 2022, he demanded that DHS step up their enforcement against interstate and international carjacking and auto theft, which has resulted in new federal, state, and local operations to recover stolen vehicles.

Gottheimer was joined by President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Pat Colligan, Executive Vice President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Peter Andreyev, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association Wayne Blanchard, President of the State Trooper Non-Commissioned Officers Association (STNCOA) Dan Oliveira, and New Jersey State Police Investigations Branch Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel John Brennan.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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