April 14, 2023 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber testifies in favor of strengthening penalties for “smash and grabs”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is supporting legislation that would make it a felony to damage, destroy or steal an ATM.

SB 186  is sponsored by Sen. Justin Brown (R-Rolla), who recently told a hearing of the House Special Committee on Public Policy that the crime is commonly referred to as “smash and grab.” Brown’s bill was passed out of the Senate in March, while a companion bill, HB 725 sponsored by Rep. Rick Francis (R-Perryville), was passed out of the House.

“Banks are vital for economic development and for businesses to grow and create jobs in communities,” said Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber. “We support this effort to deter this type of crime.”

This legislation goes along with other recommendations from a public safety report the Missouri Chamber released during the summer, Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri.

Addressing crime is a leading priority of the Missouri Chamber this legislative session. More than 500 businesses and business leaders have signed the Missouri Chamber petition urging lawmakers to act on public safety measures this legislative session.

Supporters of Brown and Francis’ legislation have noted that currently the state can charge those who destroy ATMs with crimes like vandalism or property damage, but there is no specific penalty for ATM smash and grabs.

“ATMs are expensive to replace, if you can even find parts to replace them,” said David Kent, representing the Missouri Bankers Association. “It can be an eight month to a year-long process to get the machine back in service.”

Other supporters noted ATM thefts and vandalism are especially destructive in rural communities because some towns may only have a single ATM with which to access financial services.

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com or call (573)634-3511.


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