Legislature: Chop Shop Felony Bill Advances In House


Establishes dismantling a vehicle or running a chop shop as a third-degree felony

The New Mexico House of Representatives is cracking down on “chop shops” with legislation that unanimously passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee today. 

Featuring bipartisan sponsorship from Meredith A. Dixon (D – Albuquerque), Rep. Joy Garratt (D – Albuquerque), and William “Bill” R. Rehm (R – Albuquerque), House Bill 145 establishes illegally dismantling a stolen motor vehicle as a third-degree felony. This includes owning, operating, maintaining, or controlling a chop shop. 

Since 2016, Albuquerque has ranked #1 per capita in the nation on the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual hotspot vehicle theft report, and the state’s auto theft rate per capita is almost double that of neighboring Arizona and Texas.  

“The goal of House Bill 145 is to deter and prosecute car thieves and help eliminate the demand for stolen vehicles,” said Rep. Dixon. “If we don’t pass this legislation, we will lose the opportunity to effectively and efficiently reduce crime, not only in Albuquerque, but throughout the state of New Mexico.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Garratt added: “There is a strong criminal ring surrounding auto thefts in our state that continues to plague citizens across the state. By properly criminalizing chop shop ownership and operation, we can provide law enforcement with an additional tool to crack down on auto theft.”

HB 145 passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee with a unanimous 5-0 vote, and will be heard next in the House Judiciary Committee. 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.