Vehicle registration theft. Why?
January 29, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Vehicle registration theft. Why?

My step son's truck was broken into yesterday and the thief took the stereo, cell phone, etc. This seems perfectly normal, but what is curious is that they also intentionally took the vehicle registration. The truck was parked at his job.

I can only believe that they want to break into his house when they see his truck at work. Problem is……the address on the registration is mine.

Any other ideas why one would steal the registration?
posted by mrleec to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
One possibility is to use on a similar truck (that has been stolen) to give it legitimate plates so it can be driven round or moved.

This used to be fairly common in the UK, but there they'd just get the plates made of an existing car. That way a routine traffic check would show a plate/car match. US style ones are much harder to fake, being stamped, but I'd have thought that stealing them (and so having them reported stolen) defeats the object unless they needed to move the truck that day and were counting on the delay window before reporting the theft.
posted by Brockles at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2008

Can you explain what you mean by registration? Anywhere that I have lived (and that's many states) the registration is a sticker affixed to either the windshield or the tags. Did he have the title in his car?

My guess initially is that they are going to wait until he gets it replaced and then steal the truck. When they get pulled over they will show the registration and say the car was purchased to buy time.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:11 AM on January 29, 2008

Two other possibilities,

1. Using it to gather more personal info via pre-texting.
2. Using the address and their knowledge of what car they think is parked at the registration address, to scope out the house for theft as well.
posted by nomisxid at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2008

It was not the sticker. It was the paper certificate kept in the glove box.
posted by mrleec at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2008

Can you explain what you mean by registration? Anywhere that I have lived (and that's many states) the registration is a sticker affixed to either the windshield or the tags. Did he have the title in his car?

This is the paper registration that shows your name and address, VIN of the car, etc. It is not related to the inspection sticker, or the expiration stickers on the license plate.
posted by mkb at 8:31 AM on January 29, 2008

Polamacho - "registration" is the paperwork you use to renew your stickers. Some carbon copies, perhaps the copy of your personal property tax...Any time I've been pulled over, the cop always wants to see "License, insurance, registration"...i.e. make sure there's not just stickers, but a full array of paperwork on the car.

Like they say above, the reg. was probably stolen to "legitimize" another vehicle.
posted by notsnot at 8:32 AM on January 29, 2008

Watching for his car at work then going to rob his house seems pretty elaborate for car stereo thieves. Is it that hard to tell when no one's home at his (or your) house? How do they know he's the only resident there?

It took them all of 3 more seconds to snatch it so they may or may not have had a sensible purpose in mind for it. Speaking personally, I don't want to lose that document because it's a pain in the ass to replace. So in that sense it has "value" to me. That doesn't mean it has any value to anyone else (seems like it wouldn't, without the license plates, because those are listed on the reg doc.) but they may have grabbed it anyway for its perceived value, or to figure out later if they could do anything with it, like sell it to someone with a stolen car.
posted by scarabic at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2008

It's difficult to tell exactly why they may have stolen it, but two possibilities are most likely:

1) They just grabbed stuff without thinking clearly.
2) They want to break into your house because they know you're not there (i.e. they could break into the vehicle, then go straight to the house).

In any event, losing your registration is a PITA. I keep mine hidden away in a ziploc baggie underneath the floor mats - readily accessible if need be, but out-of-the-way enough that a thief wouldn't take them. If you choose to do the same thing, make sure you tell any cop who pulls you over exactly what you're doing before you reach under the mats to get the papers. Cops think the worst of people who reach into dark places...
posted by gwenzel at 10:56 AM on January 29, 2008

Did the cops you reported the theft to have any thoughts on the matter?
posted by jerseygirl at 11:58 AM on January 29, 2008

Was there a spare set of keys in the truck? Any keys? Mayhaps they think they can get inside now.

They could possibly be going to use this as a starting point for some sort of identity theft, but I'm not sure.
posted by TomMelee at 12:35 PM on January 29, 2008

When my car got broken into, they stole my registration too. For months afterwards, I got mysterious calls with nobody at the other end. It was totally obvious they were trying to figure out when nobody would be home. Too bad for them I lived in a controlled access building.
posted by calistasm at 12:36 PM on January 29, 2008

Good news is whatever they were up to - they're stupid.

I'm going to suggest that if you're thinking your stepsons car should be at your house - um I think that's a bad idea. If Tweedle Dee and/or Dum pass it on to someone interested in the identity thing? The car is never there.. hopefully at worst they'll just steal your mail ect. and figure it out. And tell the Tweedle/s... that they're idiots.

If said Tweedle/s just wanted the address for themselves - any car will suffice.

They weren't doing anything clever so the odds are in your favor that they loose it down a drain or something before there's even the possibility you might have something to worry about. Robbing the address from the car is just sooo stupid. Can hardly believe I'm saying this but - thank god for stupid people, huh??
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:46 PM on January 29, 2008

I had someone break into my car and rip up my registration into little pieces!

No idea why
posted by jpdoane at 8:45 PM on January 29, 2008

Thieves steal the registration and bring it to a dealership where they can use the papers to obtain keys for the vehicle. Atleast that's what the police stated in a recent neighborhood watch newsletter.
posted by ajr at 9:44 PM on January 29, 2008

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