Web site identifies stolen vehicles - East Valley Tribune: Business

Web site identifies stolen vehicles

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Posted: Friday, July 21, 2006 11:06 am | Updated: 4:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Wondering whether that car cruising the neighborhood is stolen? A new system unveiled Thursday will allow anyone with Internet access to check instantly.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said the system will create extra “eyes on the street’’ for law enforcement.

The Web site accepts input by license plate or vehicle identification number, which Goddard said can be helpful for people buying a vehicle who want to find out if it has been stolen.

What comes back is either a response that no theft report exists or a notice that the vehicle has been listed as stolen, along with the name and phone number of the reporting agency.

“We won’t tell you who the owner is, we won’t tell you any other information,’’ Goddard said. “We specifically are not providing access to the general criminal database.’’

Arizona Department of Public Safety deputy director David Felix cautioned wouldbe detectives to leave real police work to the professionals.

“We don’t need folks to try to confront individuals where they’ve found a vehicle that may be stolen,’’ he said. “They need to contact the local authorities and have them come and respond to that.’’

The Web site comes in response to Arizona’s high vehicle theft rate.

Enrique Cantu, director of the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, said the instant access will do more than help find vehicles in the United States.

He said nearly 40 percent of cars and trucks stolen in Arizona are never recovered, and many wind up in Mexico. Cantu said Mexican police have shown an increasing interest in tracking these vehicles but cannot get prompt responses from local police departments as to whether a particular car or truck is stolen.

The new Web site, Cantu said, can be used by Mexican agencies.

More online

To check a license plate number, visit www.theftaz.azag.gov

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