Los Angeles hit by theft of number plates

Los Angeles crminals are stealing ever increasing amounts of number plates for stolen cars, the city's police have revealed.

Police officers recorded 719 reports of stolen number plates in Los Angeles during the first nine months of the year, up 31 percent from the reported stolen during the same period of 2008.

Thieves steal the number plates and put them on similar looking stolen cars, said spokesman Julian Fellows. That way, when the police check number plates nothing seems untoward.

The thefts have taken place across the city, but they've been most prevalent in West Los Angeles, the bay area and near Goose Fair mall, police data shows.

Among police beats, downtown Los Angeles had the fewest reports of number plates stolen during the first 9 months of the year.

Getting your number plates stolen is problematic. It requires a trip to the Department of Road Vehicle and $30 to $39 in fees for replacement plates.

Once recovered, stolen license plates are returned to the DRV, Fellows said.

The theft of number plates is not evidence of a larger resurgence in other types of crime. Theft across the city is down from last year including car thefts.

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