COLORADO SPRINGS — Several News5 viewers want others to know about thieves stealing registration stickers and even full license plates. It may seem the same, but from a crime perspective there is a difference between having a registration sticker peeled and taken, verses having the whole plate stolen.
A stolen license plate is likely a more serious issue, according to Colorado Springs Police. "Very often it's because they're going to commit another crime," said Lieutenant Jim Sokolik. The department's advice is to contact police immediately when you discover your plate is gone. "You don't want your plate unreported and it's used in a significant incident because the police are going to contact you to see what your car was doing."
You should also report if your registration sticker is stolen, but it is typically less urgent. In this case, you should also contact local police Click here for a list) primarily so you'll have proof when seeking a replacement.
The reason for a thief getting your registration sticker, either by peeling it off carefully or using tin snips to cut the plate, is pretty simple. They're trying to skip out on Colorado's high cost for vehicle registration or are not paying for car insurance and cannot register their vehicle.
Lt. Sokolik says police pay extra attention to damaged stickers. When they catch people with stolen stickers on unregistered cars, the offender faces charges like driving without insurance and misuse of plates. "As well as we're probably going to impound the vehicle,” said Sokolik, “That vehicle then won't leave our impound lot until it's a registered vehicle and we know it's an insured vehicle.”
If you've heard the advice to make a cut across your registration sticker to make it harder for thieves to peel off, police don't advise doing so. Why? You may draw the attention of an officer on patrol who may think the sticker is stolen or altered illegally.
Whenever you fall victim to one of these crimes, here's what you need to do to replace the sticker or license plate.
- File a police report and keep the document number handy
- Visit your local Clerk & Recorder office with the report number, registration papers (if available), valid identification and insurance
- Fill out form DD2283 Lost or Stolen License Plate / Permit Affidavit (must be signed by owners of the vehicle)
- Replacement costs start at $8.06 for standard plates. Be prepared to pay more if you have specialty or vanity plates