License plates were stolen from a vehicle in Washington Tuesday night.
Washington police are investigating a report of missing plates from the 300 block of Terry Lane.
On Monday, a Springfield man was charged with felony stealing and accused of taking items from area businesses and vehicles. Among the items found in his hotel room were stolen license plates.
Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said there hasn’t been a rash of missing plates, but they are periodically reported stolen. Residents should be mindful for stolen plates and call police if any go missing.
“They do get stolen, and if yours are stolen, they need to be reported,” he said.
Sitzes said police also receive reports of a similar, and less noticed, crime throughout the year. While it’s more common for plates to be removed, some thieves have swiped the yearly registration stickers on the plates.
Most people don’t regularly check their stickers meaning weeks can go by before the missing tab is noticed.
“People don’t really realize until they get caught by police that the tabs are stolen,” he said.
Sitzes said some people unwittingly make themselves a target.
“They’re easier to steal if you have an older car and you have like 10 tabs on there,” Sitzes said. “You should try and remove as many as you can.”
Another way to protect the sticker is to use a knife to cut it once it’s on the plate. Sitzes said a family member used to have problems with the stickers being stolen, so he would take a razor blade and carve up the sticker.
The sticker would still be legal, but anyone who wanted to remove it would be facing a time-consuming project and would have to reassemble multiple pieces to get a valid sticker.