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Lawmakers try to combat car thefts as Lynnwood auto dealer calls for change

Two thieves entered the lot at Car Master Pro Auto Sales in Lynnwood Saturday morning and proceeded to steal a BMW X5, damaging other cars in the process.

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — The owner of Car Master Pro Auto Sales in Lynnwood said he is frustrated and defeated after another destructive theft this weekend, and he's pushing for change.

Ali Alamdar described his experience arriving at his business Saturday morning.

"Got my coffee, I came in in the morning, I came inside and saw... something’s not usual," said Alamdar. 

Several of his luxury cars had been smashed into each other.

"They get inside the lot. With the keys they try and wedge the door open," said Alamdar.

Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, two thieves entered the lot at Car Master Pro Auto Sales on Highway 99 and proceeded to steal a BMW X5, according to police. They also attempted to steal other cars, according to police, and made a mess in the process.

"On the way out of the parking lot, they ended up hitting a handful of cars -- about four of them -- and damaging them," said Maren McKay, public affairs and communications manager for the Lynnwood Police Department.

Alamdar was worried this would happen after his office was broken into last December. It seemed to him that these thieves had the keys to a Mercedes Benz on his lot. Surveillance video shows the suspects unlocking the car using a remote key and entering, However, the way it was parked, it had been boxed in behind other cars.

"On purposefully, I knew they had some keys, so, some cars, I blocked them with a different vehicle," said Alamdar.

But the pair of suspects tried to ram through that vehicle regardless, causing extensive damages, and ultimately costing Alamdar a total of at least $50,000, he said.

The thieves were unsuccessful in getting the Mercedez Benz off the lot, but they got away with a BMW, he said. The police are looking for the suspects.

"As of right now, we don’t have anybody in custody," said McKay.

Alamdar believes it was the same people that stole keys from his office and three cars in December after he says they broke in through the back door.

Now, he’s pleading for more effective prosecution of auto thieves.

"They go for joyrides, they do their crimes, and they might go and kill somebody with those cars. They're not scared. And I think if they got caught, they should be -- at least -- four or five years in jail," said Alamdar.

The effectiveness of auto theft prosecution is one of the goals of a bill currently in Olympia that just passed the Senate and now heads to the House. Senate Bill 5672 would dedicate 2% of the existing premium tax revenue for insurance companies in order to further fund the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority Account, depositing $7 million into the account.

"This is a time when we should be fully funding this account -- especially with car thefts so dramatically skyrocketing,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-17th District.

Last year, more than 45,000 cars were reported stolen across Washington, according to the Puget Sound Auto Theft task force. But the problem continues in 2023: this January alone, there were more than 1,600 vehicles reported stolen in King County and more than 900 in Pierce County.

"We’re hoping now to be able to fund this so that more grants can get out and start dealing with this," said Wilson.

Senate Bill 5672 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations at 4 p.m. Thursday.


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