West Seattle Crime Watch: Why it’s a good idea to check your plates! And 2 other reader reports

Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:

Stephanie reports a stolen car:

Stolen 1998 Honda CRV. Stolen on Dec. 2nd from the 1100 block of SW Holden Ave. Stolen CRV has the following feature/options: Roof rack, tinted windows, 5 spd manual transmission, rear mounted spare tire. WA State Lic. Plate 370YKH

Amy reports an attempted burglary in Sunrise Heights/Gatewood:

Someone attempted to break into my apartment at 35th Ave SW and SW Webster St today. When I came home my apartment key wouldn’t work and I had to call a locksmith. The locksmith said that someone had attempted to jimmy the locks but couldn’t get past the deadbolt.

The type of theft you might not notice happened to Katie:

I live down on Beach Drive around Mee Kwa Mooks Park and I had my plates stolen and replaced last week. Through strange twists and turns, my plates were recovered by the Tukwila Police Department and the plates that were nicely put on my car were also stolen from a silver 2002 Honda from West Seattle. The really nice SPD officer who (responded) said they have seen more and more of these types of theft. He said when the thieves switch plates it buys them time since most people don’t check their plates very often (sometimes only once a year to change their tabs).

So just a heads up to your readers to check their plates! The Seattle PD has been investigating more and more of these and say if you discover your plates are incorrect to stop driving and immediately call the non-emergency line for help.

12 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Why it's a good idea to check your plates! And 2 other reader reports"

  • Bonnie December 10, 2014 (7:17 am)

    When I renewed my tabs last Spring it had been 7 years since we got new plates so I was handed new plates and told to destroy the old ones. I was told to destroy them somehow and just throw away. Sounds like there could be a secondary market for those and the state should be a bit more careful what they tell people to do with them.

  • Lucky? December 10, 2014 (7:50 am)

    I had my plates stolen a few years ago and replaced with stolen ones (from a Honda) But my car (a VW) was not stolen or broken into.

  • Dan December 10, 2014 (9:22 am)

    My wife had her plates stolen and replaced with those from a similar stolen car. She was pulled over by SPD and ordered out of her car at gunpoint. Good reason to check your plates occasionally.

  • Bill December 10, 2014 (9:45 am)

    Like Dan’s wife, my neighbor’s daughter was surrounded by cops (three cars) with drawn guns when she parked in her own driveway. Then she was handcuffed and held in a police car for about twenty minutes while the cops sorted out the stolen plates.

    • WSB December 10, 2014 (9:52 am)

      No consolation but that’s SOP for what police call a “felony stop” – if they run plates and discover a vehicle is likely stolen (or some other reason to believe someone inside it has committed a felony), they pull it over, and deal with its occupants at gunpoint. At least once every week or two, someone texts or calls to ask why police have surrounded a car somewhere, guns drawn – we rush out, it’s already cleared, that’s usually why, a felony stop.

  • DB Coop December 10, 2014 (10:16 am)

    Bonnie, I just read this week that the state is giving up the 7 year plate replacement program, finally! It is costly but worse, the newer numbering system makes it almost impossible to take a license plate number down in a hurry. The new numbering system is a result of having to produce too many new plates.

  • Autumn December 10, 2014 (2:49 pm)

    I like my new numbers and letters – new car – but a DOL clerk at the West Seattle license office once told me they replace after a certain amount of time because the refection material on the letters/numbers wears down and does not read well to the cameras or police. Anyone know if this is true?

    And they certainly should have a better way of recycling the old ones. That’s just an opportunity for bad people.

  • miws December 10, 2014 (3:31 pm)

    Autumn, That’s what I have heard as well.



  • Ray West December 11, 2014 (4:36 am)

    I had one of my plates stolen about a year ago. They didn’t get the one on the front because I park up close to my carport wall. Fortunately, I spotted the the different rear plate before I got pulled over by police. Really a good idea to constantly check your plates.

  • Egigik December 11, 2014 (7:04 am)

    The rising crime rate in West Seattle disturbs me.
    The more people who move here, the more crime is expected. Sad.

  • Hamnet December 12, 2014 (7:00 am)

    I didn’t know car plate theft was even a thing, so thanks!

    Not surprised at the lock picking incident though, that happens all the time.

  • Katie December 13, 2014 (10:01 am)

    Autumn, DOL plate replacement is required every 7 years. You can keep the same license plate letters and numbers for a fee. I just did this last month for $20.

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