Thieves steal 43 cars in four-day period in Pierce County

Car thefts continue to plague Pierce County. This past holiday weekend, officials reported more than forty cars were stolen in just four days.

These thefts are impacting much of Pierce County. In October, nearly 800 cars were reported stolen.

Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says a big reason for the thefts are new restrictions that are in place.

Under new police reform laws in Washington, police and deputies are not allowed to chase a suspect if the only crime committed is car theft.

Confusion besets new police reform laws in Washington state

Washington state is embarking on a massive experiment in police reform and accountability following the racial justice protests that erupted after George Floyd’s murder last year, as nearly a dozen laws took effect Sunday.

Another issue affecting car theft numbers is COVID restrictions.

Moss says if a suspect is charged with a car theft, and no other serious crimes, they will not stay in jail due to current COVID policies. 

"It’s frustrating; it’s frustrating for our deputies. It’s frustrating for other agencies. We want to be able to take people to jail. We want to stop the crimes from continuing to happen," he said.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android.

Over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, 43 cars were reported stolen in Pierce County.

Nineteen of those cars are from one location, the Advantage Auto Direct car lot in Frederickson. 

"We’re looking at, probably, just in tow bills and locksmith, ten thousand dollars on top of the cost to repair the vehicles, or write off the ones we don’t get back," said Terri Simmer.

Simmer is the operations manager at Advantage Auto Direct. Some of the stolen cars have been found and returned to the dealership, but there are still several vehicles missing. 

Simmer thinks more needs to be done addressing vehicle thefts.

"We’re just slapping their hands and they’re getting by with it and they know it. They know nothing is going to happen to them. They’re just going to keep doing it until law enforcement is able to do something about it."

Watch FOX 13 Seattle for the latest news:

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram