CRIME ALERT: License plates stolen off cars in Eau Claire

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It’s one of the most vulnerable pieces of your car, your license plate.

The Eau Claire Police Department said it’s looking into a recent spike of license plate thefts in the city.

Officer Kyle Roder said the department has received three reports of license plate theft in the past week.

He said the recent rash started Sunday on the north side of Eau Claire, when a man on the 3100 block of Runway Avenue told police one of his plates was stolen.

Jump to Thursday on the west side of the city, where a woman on the 1500 block of Greenfield Drive called police after her plate disappeared.

“One of them involved a portion of the license plate being clipped off for unknown reasons,” Roder said.

Police said that incident happened on Thursday to a vehicle parked outside Scheels All Sports in the Oakwood Mall.

Roder said someone cut off the corner of the plate with the registration sticker.

“Odds are someone would want to take the plate and put it on their own vehicle,” Roder said.

But Roder said the joke would be on them.

Once a stolen plate is reported to police, the hot plates immediately get flagged.

“There wouldn’t be any advantage to doing that. Our officers out on patrol, they will view plates and run them against DOT files to determine if the registration is appropriate and if the vehicle matches that plate,” Roder said.

While tough screws and having a car alarm will help protect your plates, Roder said you should also consider where you’re parking your ride.

“Park in well lit areas, parking in your own driveway, motion lights, things like that so if someone is coming toward your vehicle to go to remove it, those are going to be things to deter them from doing that,” Roder said.

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles said if your plates are stolen, make a report with police and it will cancel the plates and replace them and your stickers for $9.

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  • by None Location: E c on Feb 12, 2012 at 09:06 PM
    I had this happen to me 3 years ago. I had my front and back plates stolen. I remember having to pay the full price to replace them. I didn't think it was fair having to pay 50 some odd dollars for everything, I also don't think 9 dollars is fair.
  • by Jim Location: Neillsville on Feb 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM
    Here's an idea! If you're caught with stolen plates or stickers on your unregistered car... It gets impounded and sold at police auction, Period! No jail time, no restitution, no wasted money on a lawyer, no court costs. Illegal plates = property of the state!
  • by Anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Feb 10, 2012 at 08:35 PM
    It is not the plates they are after it's the month/year stickers. For one reason or another(usually suspended plates) they are not able to register their vehicle so they look to get a plate where they can remove the sticker and put it on their vehicle so they are less likely to have the police run their plate. Typically shoplifters will do this so that there vehicles won't get flagged at the malls by the police or security. This is a very common occurrance in Milwaukee so this is not a new concept. Keep an eye on the year corner of your plate because that's what they are targeting.
  • by Denny on Feb 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
    I wonder if the person that cut the sticker corner off wanted the sticker for their vehicle to not have to pay least until they get caught.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
    What I can't figure out, is why do you have to pay anything to have the plates replaced? It's not like would steal your own plates! You have a theft and you have to pay for it. Doesn't make any sense at all!!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
    Criminals are completely stupid, but then again the justice brought to them is so minute. Caught stealing license plates? You should serve 1000 hours of community service and then some.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2012 at 04:03 PM in reply to
      Honestly, I don't think 1,000 hours of community service would keep them from doing it again. Honestly, it should be a fine, a large one... And a visit from the K9, but that's just my opinion.
      • reply
        by WI worker on Feb 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM in reply to
        I agree. Someone cut the last digit from my daughter's plate for the sticker. She doesn't even know when it happened.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM in reply to
        It's not the plates they are interested in. It is the month and/or year stickers they are after. If you are not able to register your vehicle (suspended plates, can't pass emissions(other counties) then stealing the plates or stickers will allow you to remove the stickers and place them on your expired vehicle plates so the police will be less likely to pull you over or run your plate with the proper year displayed. If you are involved in other illegal activity and parked nearby at least the plates will not raise suspicion. Cutting the year corner of a license plate is a very common thing in Milwaukee.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM in reply to
      It's hard to operate a screwdriver with out your hands.
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