You would think this would be an easy question to answer. If my plate or plates were stolen, I would probably consider myself a victim in that scenario. However, one Aurora man found that sometimes things just aren’t so straightforward.
Welcome to the strange world of license plate theft where you might actually be the victim twice.
It’s not just stereos and catalytic converters that get stolen
Weren’t we warned just a few months ago that people are stealing catalytic converters from parked cars (thieves still take them, by the way)? Wasn’t a piece of hollow metal filled with rare earth minerals enough?
I’ll go ahead and answer my own question here.
No, catalytic converter thefts are apparently not enough for some in the thief community. What should you steal if you already have enough catalytic converters in the house? Why no license plates?
So what could actually happen to you if someone steals your plates?
I’d like to tell you that there’s really nothing wrong with you if you’re a victim of a license plate theft… but that’s just not true. What happens when your stolen license plates end up in a car whose driver loves running red lights, bypassing speed cameras, and generally being completely reckless?
According to a report by NBCChicago.com,
Thieves who go on pleasure cruises with someone else’s number plates can result in violations and fines, resulting in costly inconveniences for victims. Aurora’s Tomas Fernandez said he had no idea his license plates were being stolen until red light and speed camera violations from the city of Chicago arrived in his mailbox. Ten separate infractions with fines totaling more than $1,000 were soon in his possession.
But wouldn’t Mr. Fernandez be upset by pointing out that his plates were stolen and he wasn’t?
nope The City of Chicago told him that regardless of his explanation, he was still liable for the fines.
Here’s what to do if it happens to you
I know it may seem strange, but one way of knowing your license plates have been stolen is to check that they are still on your car before driving. If you make this a habit, in a short time you will know that you have some calls to make.
- Call the police immediately and file a theft report. Don’t drive your car until you do.
- Contact the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. You will need to fill out a license plate revocation form.
- There are license plate locks and anti-theft screws available at your favorite hardware store, so it might be worth grabbing some.
Oh, and speaking of Illinois license plates:
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