Drivers go to vehicles, do doubletake

Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 22:15:28-05

More drivers are coming forward with reports of license plates vanishing, this time in South Park.

Thursday night on 10News at 11, 10News told you about a string of license plate thefts, including two cars in Little Italy. Now, there are reports of two more victims.

About 50 feet from Grape Street Dog Park, you'll find a not-so-pleasant surprise on Tim Dietz' Toyota 4Runner.          

“Pretty much it was shock." He said. "What?  Who would do this?”

Tuesday night, Dietz was on his way to an event when he noticed something wrong with his car.

“Looked at the back of the vehicle and noticed there was absolutely no plate there,” Dietz said.

There was a similar feeling Sunday night - 6 blocks away - after the owner of an oldsmobile found her back plate missing.

According to San Diego Police, some thieves are stealing the plates simply to get the flags. Others are ripping off the plates and putting them on stolen vehicles so they can use them as a cover.

San Diego police say the plates thefts are a daily occurrence - and stolen plates are turning up in all kinds of crimes scenes, from robberies to drug busts.

Auto theft experts say criminals will often target areas with a high volume of cars.

It means a bigger selection to ensure finding a car similar to the stolen car the plates will end up on. That can buy thieves extra time.

San Diego police say they haven't noticed an uptick in thefts.

The state DMV tells 10news there has been a slight increase locally in replacement plates in the past year.