City Council members said they will tighten up an ordinance to try to deal with the problem of unscrupulous individuals bringing in other peoples' older-model vehicles and having them quickly scrapped.
Police Chief Bobby Dodd said it is an increasing problem, and he said the Legislature has not made the requested changes while faced with a strong scrap metal lobby.
The Legislature did change from 10 years to 12 years the age of a vehicle for which a title must be presented to a scrap yard.
Chief Dodd said he had hoped the law would be moved to at least 15 years.
He said when vehicles run out of gas along the freeway and the owners leave, a wrecker can quickly scoop up the vehicle and take it to a scrap yard.
Chief Dodd said there is even a van going around Chattanooga looking for such easy pickings.
He said there is a three-day waiting period before the vehicle can be scrapped. But he said the vehicles are quickly prepared for scrapping, including removing the radiator, tires, fluids and other parts.
Chief Dodd said that reduces the value of a $1,500 car to about $350.
"The individual is victimized when his vehicle is stolen and again at the scrap yard," he said.
The council is looking into such requirements as daily reportings by scrap yard dealers such as are required of pawn shop operators and of forcing "wildcat" towers to meet a number of city requirements.