MARLBORO, New Jersey (WABC) -- Fundraisers are nearing the 100-thousand dollar mark to cover funeral costs for Arturo Tlapa Luna and medical costs for his family, after a November crash along Route 9 in Old Bridge.
His family's car was slammed into by a stolen car being chased by Marlboro Police. Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornick has had more than enough of the car theft epidemic.
"It's our number one crime concern in our community," Hornick said.
It has hit Marlboro just as hard as other towns combatting the issue. It is why the state's attorney general once again allowed police to chase stolen vehicles after the practice had been banned. Marlboro has added its own new deterrent - harsher penalties for those caught stealing cars.
Mayor Hornick says this year alone, 45 cars were stolen in his town and 31 arrests were made. The death of Tlapa Luna shows how tragically these crimes can end.
"The people to blame here are the criminals. They're the ones who did this. We need to do something, not prevent police from doing their job," said Mayor Hornick.
The newly upgraded penalties can go into effect on December 15.