Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Motor Vehicle Theft Act
Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Theft Act of 1919, 18 U.S.C.A. Section 2311–2313, on October 28, 1919. This act, commonly referred to as the Dyer Act, named after Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer (R-MO), made interstate transport of stolen motor vehicles a federal crime and authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate vehicle thefts that crossed over state jurisdictional lines. Prior to 1919 most states had established comprehensive laws governing theft in its many forms. However, few states were prepared for the unique theft problems that resulted from the increased production, distribution, and accessibility of the automobile in the United States, which increased dramatically during the early part of the 20th century. The automobile is particularly well-suited for theft. Vehicles are easily salable items that also provide increased opportunities to commit other crimes and then allow offenders to quickly escape or flee the scene. Criminals have developed a distinct relationship ...