Police: Stolen license plate placed on woman’s car

Jan 3, 2023, 3:27 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm
(Salt Lake City Police Department)...
(Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department is urging drivers to become familiar with their license plate numbers after a stolen one was swapped on a woman’s car.

The incident happened near 1300 South and 300 West at approximately 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.

According to a press release from the Salt Lake City Police Department, that’s where two officers with the Liberty Bike Squad spotted a silver 2011 Nissan Maxima that matched the description of a car reported stolen earlier that day.

“The officers ran the license plate through a national database and learned the license plate came back as stolen,” the release stated.

With that information, officers conducted a felony traffic stop.

Police said three passengers inside the vehicle — who all fully cooperated with officers — were detained.

“During the investigation, officers checked the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is when they realized someone had placed a stolen license plate on the driver’s car. That stolen license plate matched the same color, make and model of the car officers stopped,” the release stated.

SLCPD Chief Mike Brown said, “We’ve seen thieves swap out license plates to the same model of car, but the person who put the stolen license plate on the victim’s car had everything matching, including the color, make, model, and even the ‘In God We Trust’ license plate style.”

“We can only assume the person who illegally did so is now driving around with the victim’s legitimate license plate trying to avoid detection. Because of this, we’ve now entered that plate into our database as stolen,” he added.

When officers explained the situation to the three passengers, the driver — who was the owner of the car — said she had no idea someone swapped out her license plate.

The stolen plate was then booked into evidence, according to the release.

Following the incident, police are encouraging drivers to:

  1. Document your license plate number; take a photo of it, print it or email yourself a copy so it can be readily accessible.
  2. Check your license plate regularly to make sure it is still valid with proper registration and to ensure it is in fact your original license plate.
  3. Report any lost or stolen license plate immediately to law enforcement and begin the process of obtaining a new license plate.

“Taking the time to know your license plate is important because if your car is stolen, or if your license plate is stolen or swapped, you can immediately report it to our officers so we can start an investigation to hopefully recover your property,” Brown said.

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Police: Stolen license plate placed on woman’s car