California cargo thieves will face harsher penalties now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that targets such crimes.
Under the new law, formerly bill AB1814, a person who steals cargo off a truck will be guilty of grand theft.
The law applies to thefts of more than $400 worth of freight. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Carson, and the resulting law applies to any cargo that has been loaded into a trailer, railcar or cargo container, whether it is awaiting transport or is already in transit.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 38-0, and received final approval from the Assembly 79-0. It was signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in September.
However, if the Legislature doesn’t act again in a few years, thieves will once again face the current, lesser penalties. A provision in the new law will cause the harsher penalties to lapse on Jan. 1, 2010, unless the General Assembly acts to extend them.