Police in Missouri say theft of older cars are on the rise, and they believe a new statute in the Missouri law books is to blame.

A law revised last year says Missouri residents can sell cars that have been non-functioning for 10 years or more, and lacking a title for the time period, can be sold for scrap, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"This law basically opens the floodgates for all kinds of criminal activity," Sgt. Tom Naughton, head of the St. Louis County police auto theft unit, told the paper.

Thieves make about $200 to $500 for each car when they bring the in for scrap.

But the lawmaker who made this all possible says the police should have better things to worry about: "There are a lot bigger problems than over-10-year-old car thefts in the metro St. Louis area and Kansas City area, and I would have the police concentrate on some of those problems," said Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, who proposed the change as a senator. "But I guess they've got to blame it on something ... They need to tighten up enforcement of the law and they'll be fine."

Many car thieves tend to focus on older cars already, since they tend to have fewer anti-theft deterrents making them easier to steal.