Thief ignores cash, grabs vehicle registration

Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 19:58:55-04

A Clairemont woman woke to a mess inside her SUV and an unusual discovery.

“My daughter noticed the car door was ajar,” said Beth Lemberg.

On Sunday morning, in north Clairemont, she opened up her Toyota 4Runner.

“You feel the hair on the back of your neck going up,” said Lemberg.

Inside the SUV was a big mess, the contents of her glove compartment and center console strewn about.

“It looked like a two-year-old got upset and had thrown everything into the air, ”said Lemberg.

Lemberg tells us she did leave her SUV unlocked, but at first, it didn't seem like much had been taken. Several trunk organizers were missing. A closer look revealed something strange.

“The only thing they took aside from some change was the driver registration. Inside that plastic envelope was also a $20 bill that they didn't take,” said Lemberg. Other electronics, like a phone charger, also not nabbed.

The discovery puzzled Lemberg.    

“If registrations are being targeted, you have to wonder why,” said Lemberg.

In Seattle, police asking similar questions amid a series of car break-ins and registration thefts at movie theaters.

In many of those cases, the thieves have found a home address and cleaned out the homes before the movie is over.

Back in San Diego, a source with the Regional Auto Theft Task Force says another reason for stolen registrations: thieves will steal a similar vehicle, take it to Mexico, then use the stolen registration to apply for plates south of the border.

The tactic is one Lemberg fears could trace crimes back to her

Police say Lemberg has done all the right things. She reported her registration stolen and got a replacement.

We're told the tactic is rare and likely not part of a theft ring.