JEFFERSON CITY—The General Assembly sent to the governor legislation sponsored by Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, to crack down on credit and debit card theft. Senate Bill 624 received unanimous approval in the Senate, and passed the House on a vote of 131-15. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
“This issue was brought to my attention by law enforcement. Officers from many agencies are coming into contact with individuals who possess credit/debit cards of other people,” said Sen. Libla. “This is not currently illegal, unless the cards are stolen, or the individual uses the card. Officers have no case against someone who knowingly possesses a cloned credit device.”
The measure would make it illegal to knowingly possess a fraudulently obtained debit or credit card or device. It applies to cloned and replicated cards as well, such as a hotel room keycard. Law enforcement would still be required to prove the card was illegally taken or cloned. It would not make it a crime to simply have someone else’s card.
The other component of the bill makes stealing from a bank, trust company, savings and loan association or credit union a Class B felony, which is the same penalty for forcibly robbing a bank.
In two recent Supreme Court cases, public defenders argued that because robbers used a demand note and not a weapon they did not “forcibly rob” the bank, therefore they should be charged with a lesser crime of stealing rather than second-degree robbery.
“A demand note, even if no weapon is displayed, has an implied threat with it,” said Sen. Libla. “Tellers are just as frightened when a robber hands them a note as when they see a weapon or the threat of a weapon. The penalty should be the same.”
Senate Bill 624 now awaits approval from the governor to become law. For more information on Sen. Libla’s legislation, visit his official Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/libla.