OT Weird!

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Strange day! Yesterday (Friday) morning I went out to the car for something. The license plate caught my eye. Wrong number. Checked registration. Sure enough. Car hadn't been moved since early Wednesday morning, Called sheriff. Deputy and I removed plate. He found one of the screws on the ground under the bumper. So evidently the swap was done in my driveway.
Deputy did check on plate. Went to registered address. Found that car had replaced plate too - but not mine. Coincidentally, car was same make and model as mine, but four years older. I printed out a 3-day permit to put on back window so I can drive without plate and will go to DMV Monday morning. Wonder what that will cost me?
What in the world is going on? Someone is going car to car changing license plates? Dangerous too. Why? Causing lots of wasted time and worry for car owners? Halloween moved to Good Friday?
I thought this might be interesting to some of you. Any theories?
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On 03/26/2016 09:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Just a guess, but I suppose your plate will be used on a car that will be involved in a robbery or possibly worse.
By swapping (rather than simply taking it) they hoped you would not notice.
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Obviously, I sincerely hope your guess is wrong. One more item in my long list of things to worry about. Thank God I reported it to sheriff - I hope in time if you are correct. But what about the replaced plate on the car whose plate ended up on my car? That plate was evidently stolen too. Another plate substituted for it too? That could go on for many cars.
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On 03/26/2016 09:38 AM, KenK wrote:

Since you have reported it and have new plates on the way, there is no need to worry about it.
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On 3/26/2016 9:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Some crook with a car similar to yours has committed or is planning on committing a crime. Could be something as mundane as a drive off at a gas station or. . .
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On 3/26/2016 7:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Here (close to MX), plate theft is often used as a way of getting a stolen car (of same make/model) across the border without raising too many flags: "Yeah, it's a blue Lexus, let it through..."
Swapping yours for another's means you're less likely to notice that your plate is MISSING (which would red-flag that plate for anyone watching plates).
[I.e., plate from car that was stolen is placed on a similar vehicle and that vehicle's plate placed on the stolen vehicle]
It can also be kids playing pranks (like swapping hubcaps).
I made a "display" license plate frame (lets me scroll messages across the back plate) but don't leave it on the car as it is hard to control WHO sees it and easy for someone "interested" in it to simply follow the vehicle to its next unattended stop -- and pinch it! (of course, they'd quickly realize that you need "another part" to make it work (how do you get the messages IN there?) so would end up discarding it -- a net loss to both of us!
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On 03/26/2016 10:40 AM, Don Y wrote:

This is not likely to be a kid's prank...there was some research involved.
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the DNA of Hillary's computer server expert will end up in the trunk.
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On 3/26/2016 9:05 AM, philo wrote:

You can't comment on likelihood. Unless the OP drives a really *unique* vehicle, garages it in a secure facility, etc. that "research" can simply involve carrying plate around until spotting another similar vehicle in another accessible location.
[Computer hacking started out as a kid's prank -- long before it became a profitable industry!]
Involving more than a pair of vehicles in the transaction just increases the chance of it being detected BEFORE it can "bear fruit". Presumably, until ALL of the plates have been placed, the real purpose can't be carried out (why risk being caught putting a plate on a vehicle AFTER you've performed the nefarious act?).
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On Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 9:18:52 AM UTC-7, Don Y wrote:

Might be a way to keep from paying license fees every year. Danger being that an owner will spot the change or get stopped, then the stolen plate winds up on the hot sheet.
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On 3/29/2016 11:58 AM, Harry K wrote:

Would have to be "performed" yearly. Here, the "registration tag" also bears the plate number. So, you'd have to find a plate that has been "recently (re)registered".
And, hope that your victim doesn't notice that his plate "looks different" when he next affixes *his* registration sticker!
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On 3/26/2016 10:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Had a plate stolen for the up to date registration sticker, but never swapped. In CT we no longer have the little stickers on the plate or window emissions stickers. Too many plates were being stolen.
Few years back I was pulled over on the highway. Trooper said I had old sticker, but radio check said I was up to date. No ticket, but told me to take care of it. Turns out, I was driving like that for over a year. New sticker came in the mail, but it was December and snowing so I put it aside and forgot about it.
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On 3/26/2016 10:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Good thing you noticed theft.
My wife had hers stolen and I think it cost her $5 because she wanted her number back but otherwise insurance would pay for it. Probably depends on your state.
Sometimes they steal them here to just get a newer registration tag.
We had a neighborhood kid steal a neighbors to use on his car as his drunk driving convictions would not allow him to drive.
What happened to you could have been for a variety of reasons.
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On 3/26/2016 10:02 AM, KenK wrote:

Kudos to you for the keen eye.
Because of the involvement of another vehicle, also with the wrong plate and not yours (a basic swap), I tend to believe prank. Otherwise, a thief isn't concerned about multi-switching plates unless there's a deeper elaborate scheme in the works and I can't see what that would be unless, as stated, your vehicle is a rarity of sort.
Did the sheriff provide detail of the plate on the other car? That would provide a better clue to the intent. If it were a simple switch, my guess is someone trying to evade the law due to their unregistered or stolen vehicle or license.
If the vehicle must remain in the open, I suggest tamper resistant bolts/screws and nuts. Though, not impossible to remove, they won't fit the common screwdrivers most thieves carry with them for easy removal. Upon that realization, they usually move on to the next victim, unless your car is that rare one they want, then they may return with proper tools.
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I have a set of bits and a handle for these types. So far I've only seen them in telephone company connections.
I wonder where you can get these screws? I can't recall seeing them in Lowes, Home Depot, Tru-Value, etc. though I've never specifically looked for them there.
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Oren posted for all of us...

Thanks Oren. Those one way screws make me feel secure while using a public terlet.
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130.133.4.11:

Found tamper-proof license plate bolts at O'Reilly Auto Parts. $5 for two. Cost me that much and a couple of hours for replacement plate at DMV.
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On 3/29/2016 12:17 PM, KenK wrote:

And any crook can get the remover from O'Reilly Auto parts for five bucks?
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Rashly assuming this is a serious question...
True. It's also in the security tool assortment kit I bought many years ago. But O'Reilly had several types so he'd have to buy them all.
I suspect this is a problem with any tamper-proof hardware you buy.
And I suspect most license-plate stealers figure one each of regular screw drivers will usually work And they are likely right. It worked for the one who stole my plate.

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Put a screw extractor bit in your cordless and it will spin out anything they put in there.
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