Law Enforcement and Courts Agree Tougher Sentences Needed for Auto Theft - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Law Enforcement and Courts Agree Tougher Sentences Needed for Auto Theft

YAKIMA, Wa -  KNDO called both the Yakima County Prosecutor and Yakima Police Chief about punishment for auto theft and eluding police.

County Prosecutor Ron Zirkle says the problem is with the state's sentencing grid for these crimes.

Auto theft and eluding police are both considered level one crimes, that's the lowest level.

A criminal could potentially steal a car four times before seeing any jail time.

Chief Granato has similar frustrations with the system.

"These decisions regarding sentencing guidelines affect real people.  State lawmakers need to get tough with this type of crime," says Granato.

He says they have not discussed this issue with lawmakers yet, but plans are now in the works to put together a special forum in Yakima on November 28th.

Mayors, police chiefs and the sheriff will get together with elected officials and representatives from the county to discuss legislative changes that need to be made.

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