Drug addicts stealing license plates

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Police have seen a drop in car thefts, but a surge in vehicle burglaries with thieves looking mainly for credit cards. And surprisingly, an increase in the theft of rear license plates.

"We have suspects going around taking license plates off of parked vehicles."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says thieves are then peeling the colored registration tags off the plate. The stolen tags are being sold for $25. With a typical car registration costing a couple hundred dollars those who don't want to pay and are willing to gamble they won't be pulled over, stolen tags are popular.

"Having 37 of those in the last 28 days is a high number which means there are more and more people out there stealing those tags and more and more people out there buying those tags," said Dyer.

Another surge in thefts from cars is credit cards.

Police Cpt. Anthony Martinez says thieves are bold and fast.

"They are burglarizing vehicles that are parked at one of our big box stores and if they find any credit card they immediately go into the big box store and try to use it and they know the card has not been reported stolen yet because the victim is in the same store as the suspect."

Martinez says the stolen cards are usually used within 90 minutes of being taken.

Dyer blames drug addicts for most of the license plate theft and vehicle burglaries.

"We know there are a lot of creative drug addicts in our city who are trying to steal anything and everything in order to support that drug habit."

Do not leave purses or wallets in your car, and make sure you still have a rear license plate before you drive.
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