The Auto Theft bureau is a subdivision of the Investigations Division and is comprised of three detectives. These detectives are responsible for investigating the thefts of all motor vehicles to include, but not limited to automobiles, light duty trucks, heavy duty trucks, tractors, all types of trailers, motorcycles, vessels, all motorized farm equipment, and all earth moving equipment.
Many times a vehicle is located without license plates or vehicle identification numbers. It is the responsibility of the investigating detective to identify these vehicles through secondary identification numbers, engine numbers, or transmission numbers. Once these numbers are located, the detective must confirm the stolen status and notify the appropriate reporting agency of the recovery. The detectives are also responsible for identifying vehicle theft trends. These trends could include specialized vehicles being taken, times or days of thefts, or specific years/models of vehicles targeted. Once these trends have been identified, it is the detectives’ responsibility to see to it they are eradicated.
Salvage Title Checks are also performed by the Auto Theft Investigators at the SBPD Station (701 W Sample) weekly by appointment only. Please call 574.235.9212 for more information/scheduling.
Note- For a Salvage Title Inspection, these are done on designated days, and by appointment only at the Police Department. Call 574-235-9212 for information on this prior to arrival with your vehicle. No off site inspections for Salvage Titles will be performed.
TIPS ON AVOIDING BECOMING AN AUTO THEFT VICTIM
What can you do to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen?:
· Never leave your car running and unattended, even to warm it up in the morning or to dash into a business.
· Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
· Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your own home.
· Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk, out of sight.
· Install an alarm or an auto theft deterrent such as a club, collar or J-bar.
· Always park in a high traffic, well lighted area, if possible.
· Electronic switches or devices to prevent your car from being started are available. These devices prevent an unauthorized person from starting your car unless the device is deactivated.
to do if your car is stolen:
· Call the police immediately. Most often the initial report can be taken over the phone. The quicker the police get the information, the sooner law enforcement agencies can attempt to locate your vehicle before it is damaged or stripped.
· Copy your license plate and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on a card and keep them with you with your driver license. If your vehicle is stolen you will need this information as quickly as possible.
· If you locate your vehicle after reporting it stolen, be aware that the thief may still be nearby. Don’t touch or move the vehicle or you may destroy valuable evidence i.e., fingerprints. Also remember, until the police respond to recover your car it is still considered stolen. If you were to drive away in it prior to notifying the police you risk being stopped at gunpoint.
Other Safety Tips
· When you go to the car wash or take your car in for repairs, just leave the ignition key with the attendant.
· Carry your driver license, registration and insurance card with you. Do not leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.
· Don’t keep the original title (pink slip) in your vehicle, keep it at home. This will prevent a thief from using the title to “prove” they own the car or fraudulently transferring title to an innocent purchaser.
· Protect yourself when buying a used car. Verify the sellers name and address, and be sure that the VIN on the registration card is the same as the VIN on the vehicle itself.