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Bail reform lets Rome auto parts thieves back on the street

Prosecutors have no doubt that thieves are empowered and emboldened by bail reform laws, which were intended to ensure fairness in the bail system.

Posted: Dec 2, 2020 5:56 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2020 6:25 PM

ROME, NY - Ignatius Falcone owns Falcone Auto Sales on Erie Boulevard. Lately, his business is a preferred target of thieves who seem to have carved out a niche in the auto parts business.

"So far this year, there has been $6,000 in thefts just here in my store alone - between catalytic converters, tailgates, panel covers - anything they can get their hands on, they're doing it, regardless of where it's parked," says Falcone.

The thieves are skilled... and brazen.

"I've got 'em on camera, ripping out my validator out back at my car wash with a chain. They never got it, but I got 'em on camera. They never got caught," says Falcone.

Prosecutors have no doubt that thieves are empowered and emboldened by bail reform laws, which were intended to ensure fairness in the bail system, but, according to police and prosecutors, have tied their hands.

"Bail reform has crippled law enforcement's ability to bring these people to justice," says Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara. "Lot of hardworking businesspeople that are being crushed by the crime that we can't even, we can't even get the people off the street."

Bail reform does not allow bail to be set for these thefts.

The state legislature, which enacted bail reform, can modify it to allow judges the discretion to set bail on a case-by-case basis. But Senator Joseph Griffo isn't confident that will happen.

"Based upon the results of the most recent election, and the new super majorities that exist in both the Assembly and the Senate, which are dominated by downstate leaders and the perspective that many of them have expressed, I do not believe you'll see any changes to the existing bail. If anything, it may be worse," says Griffo.

For Falcone, it's not a philosophical or partisan issue.

"I've done this my whole life. I work hard at what I do and to have them come in here and help themselves, that's not fair. It's not right. It's not fair."

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