Escondido residents finding increase in license plate thefts

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- The Escondido Police Department said lately it has seen an increase in auto thefts, and in some cases stolen vehicles are found with stolen plates on them.

Lori Froebe said recently her license plate was stolen and whoever took it did damage to her car in the process.

“I was pissed. I was really mad,” Froebe said.

Froebe said the theft not only cost her money, but also valuable time.

“I have a special needs daughter so I’m not mobile all the time. I can’t always just hop in the car and go anywhere. So it was extreme inconvenience for me,” Froebe said.

She let people know about it on Facebook and she was surprised by the response.

“Oh my gosh. Same thing happening all over Escondido. How it’s an inconvenience and and it’s violating because someone has been in your driveway. Someone has been in your home area,” Froebe said.

In a post one man wrote "Happened to me on Morning View too! Bus plates too."

Another woman said "Happened in our neighborhood as well. Now we all have cameras set up."

Escondido police said since the start of the year more than 40 license plates have been reported missing or stolen.

Detectives explained to FOX 5 why crooks steal them.

“So the main reason is usually to commit another crime so they’ll put a license plate that’s lost or stolen on their vehicle and go commit a crime, or they’ll steal another vehicle and that’s to avoid apprehension,” Lt. Chris Lick, with Escondido PD, said.

It is unclear if there has been an increase in stolen plates, but police said if that is the case it could be related to the rise in auto thefts. Detectives told FOX 5 just within the past two months more than 50 vehicles have been stolen in Escondido.

Froebe doesn't know where her plate has ended up, but is sad to think of someone using it to commit another crime.

“I just hope that people would just be honest. Why do they have to be that way for? There’s no reason to do that. Just go to work. Earn your own money and get your own stuff. Why do you have to steal from other people,” Froebe said.

Police say if your license plate is stolen to call them and the DMV.

As for the rise in auto thefts, Escondido investigators said they have been working to get the number down by arresting the thieves and putting them in jail.

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