December 1, 2016 6:48 pm
Updated: December 1, 2016 7:00 pm

Calgary couple’s car slapped with stolen licence plate while they slept

WATCH ABOVE: Have you looked at your licence plate lately? It may not be yours. You'd be amazed at how many vehicle plates are stolen every year in Calgary. Here's Tony Tighe with why and how to prevent it.

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Calgary police say vehicle licence thefts are big business, with an average of 7,000 stolen licence plates a year.

Last month, Alyssa Julie and her boyfriend noticed the plate on their car was loose. Then, they noticed it wasn’t their licence number.

READ MORE: Calgary drug trade behind rise in licence plate thefts

It turns out their legal plate had been replaced with a stolen one.

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“I never check my licence plate when I go out to the car,” Julie said. “He only checked it because he was putting something in the trunk and just noticed it was rattling.”

Calgary Police Det. David Bailey works with the Auto Theft Unit and says thieves use legal plates on stolen vehicles or sell the licence for drugs or money.

“A vehicle is a commodity. The actual theft of a licence plate is a crime itself and then a lot of them are then used in further offences.”

There are products you can buy to secure your licence plate, like tamper-proof screws, which need a special tool to remove them. Another option is to attach a frame over the licence to make it hard for thieves to remove it.

“The more screws the better,” said Jody Blood with Auto Value Parts in northeast Calgary. “Licence plates do require four screws, so if you could put in all four, it would take more time for thieves to take them off.”

Julie and her boyfriend bought the anti-theft screws.

READ MORE: Calgary woman’s stolen vehicle quickly recovered thanks to viral Facebook post

Police say to avoid being a target, park in a well lit area, park so your plate is always visible and walk around your car before you get in to check it.

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