Thieves Targeting Your License Plate

Wednesday, November 5th 2008, 10:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There's been an increase in reports of stolen license plates.  Thieves are always looking for something to steal and right now, it seems car tags are in season.  Tag agencies say they routinely see two or three victims a week, but it gets even worse during the summer and near the holidays.

A lot of crooks just take the sticker so their car will appear to be legally up-to-date, but lately, they've been taking the whole plate.  Quite a few of them have been stolen recently in the Sand Springs and Prattville area.

Judy Anderson just got back from her son's wedding when she pulled into her drive-way and noticed her car tag was missing.  Another car in her neighborhood was also hit.

"Even though it doesn't cost that much to replace, the idea, it's just irritating, aggravating and shouldn't be happening," said Judy Anderson.

She went to the tag agency and was told it's been a pretty common problem lately.  Interestingly enough, tag thefts spike during the holidays, the worst being the Fourth of July. 

Police say there are many reasons it happens and all of them are underhanded.

"They said, what they think it's for is to rob places, commit crimes and discard ‘em," said Judy Anderson.

A lot of victims worry about being connected to a crime because of their stolen tag or worry about what liability they may face.

No one state agency keeps track of the number of stolen tags, but once you report it to the tag agency, it'll show up in police databases as not registered to any vehicle.

"Cost $10 and 50 cents, get a whole new plate or sticker, depending on what was stolen and we run the paperwork right there for you so, immediately before you walk out the door, the plate is invalid and the new plate is registered to you," said Molly Frasier with the Sand Springs Tag Agency.

Everyone in Oklahoma will be getting a new plate come January.  People can pay a fee to keep their number, but it will be on the new plate.

There are things you can do to protect yourself from the crooks.

First, with the sticker, don't let them build up, because they thicker they are, the easier they are to pull off.  Once you have the sticker on, use a razor blade to cut an X across it, which will make it come off in pieces and make it useless for a criminal.   

As for you plate, there are license plate security screws.  They are tamper proof.  You put them on with a regular screw driver, but it takes a special tool to get them off.