City advisory committee takes up catalytic converter theft, tobacco sales | News

Bakersfield City Council may soon consider catalytic converter thefts and measures to combat illegal tobacco sales, following a couple of recommendations made by the Safe Neighborhood and Community Relations Committee on Thursday.

Committee members unanimously voted in favor of creating a municipal ordinance to deal with thieves who steal car parts valued for their precious metals, although the city attorney expressed concern that there was no legal precedent for such a move, as well. questions about the potential effectiveness of the ordinance.

At the April 6 City Council meeting, 1st District Councilor Eric Arias asked the city attorney general for an ordinance to combat the theft of catalytic converters in accordance with a recent measure taken by Artesia City Council. There, council members passed an ordinance approving an uninstalled catalytic converter that was punishable by an offense. Those convicted of the violation could face a $ 1,000 fine, six months in prison or both, according to the city’s website.

At Thursday’s meeting, City Attorney Ashley Zambrano said the effectiveness of the ordinance has yet to be proven. Moreover, as Artesia is one of the few cities to make such an ordinance, it is unclear whether the move will face legal challenges, he said. Violation of this ordinance would not prove that a person stole the catalytic converters, but will only show that an individual has no proof of ownership of the car part, Zambrano added.

Zambrano also noted that there are a number of state bills on the subject that travel through the Legislature, and that is another reason why it makes sense to wait for what happens.

“I don’t think we’re going to increase enforcement with a local ordinance or that it won’t increase the arrest capacity of the Police Department for stealing catalytic converters,” said Bakersfield City Attorney Ginny Gennaro.

Councilwoman Andrae Gonzales, representing Ward 2, asked the city’s attorney to continue reviewing the ordinance despite these concerns, as she hears about the issue every day from voters.

“It’s very hard to sit in my hands and do nothing,” Gonzales said.

The theft of catalytic converters is difficult to prosecute because the parts are not marked with proof of ownership – like the VIN number – and can be easily removed, Zambrano said. Bakersfield police chief Greg Terry said the easy removal of catalytic converters was “very difficult to enforce the law”.

Terry added that investigators need to gather evidence to prove that a suspect stole and stole part of the car. These two elements are easier to prove when the author has multiple catalytic converters, he said Thursday.

Gennaro said a first reading of the ordinance could be held at the July City Council meeting following a motion by Gonzales. Ward 7 Councilor Chris Parlier was out.

Tobacco Ordinance

Committee members also discussed accepting the application for permission to sell tobacco, a move inspired by a provincial ordinance.

The Kern County Tobacco Dealer Permit Ordinance requires tobacco sellers to pay $ 135 a year to the county Department of Public Health to obtain a trader’s license and face additional annual penalties in the event of a violation.

Bakersfield has a tobacco ordinance that restricts anyone under the age of 21 from owning, using or buying tobacco, according to the city attorney. However, Bakersfield does not require a retail tobacco permit.

Arias and Gonzales called for a trade permit ordinance to be discussed at the next City Council meeting as a way to stop tobacco use by minors.

You can contact Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow him on Twitter at @_ishanidesai.

City advisory committee takes up catalytic converter theft, tobacco sales | News Source link City advisory committee takes up catalytic converter theft, tobacco sales | News

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