License-plate theft victims are responsible for replacement

Cars driving on the road. Feb. 11, 2019 (KBAK/KBFX photo)

California requires every resident to register their car, but registering your car doesn’t guarantee that you will not get pulled over.

Bakersfield resident Darci Shugart said her dad was pulled over for not having a rear license plate, but he hadn't even realized it had been stolen.

“He had to go through processes at the DMV to pay for a new license plate, as well as getting new tags,” Shugart said.

Armetio Armenta, with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said license plate theft and registration tag theft are crimes.

He said unfortunately, those who are victims of license plate theft are still responsible for their replacement.

Armenta said the first step is to file a police report.

That report should be taken to the DMV, along with the title of your car or your registration card and your license or ID.

You also need to fill out the license plate replacement form.

He said there is also a $22 replacement fee.

For Zak Lecain, the issue goes beyond the monetary expense.

“If they’re using my plates or if they’re looking it up and then where they’re selling it and where it’s going I don’t now, and then surrendering and having to go through all that process again,” Lecain said. “So, I guess I never really thought about it, but yeah, I would probably be pretty bummed and concerned.”

The DMV says the information of the stolen license plate is noted on the vehicle record, which helps law enforcement when tracking down the culprits.

Armenta suggests cutting an X through the tag on your license plate with a sharp razor blade to prevent thieves from peeling it off.

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