The arrest of a man in Queanbeyan on Sunday for stealing a number plate from a vehicle has prompted police to urge vehicle owners to install anti-theft screws to secure their vehicle’s identity.
Just before 8 pm on Sunday, a 54-year-old man was observed stealing the front number plate of a vehicle parked in a carpark on Monaro Street, Queanbeyan.
A short time later, police attended an address in Queanbeyan East and arrested the man, who was taken to Queanbeyan Police Station where he was charged with larceny. Bail was refused when he appeared in Queanbeyan Local Court the following day.
Officer-in-charge of Queanbeyan Police Station, Inspector Charles Hutchins, said there has been a significant increase in number plate thefts lately, especially in the Queanbeyan area.
Inspector Hutchins said this type of crime is of great concern as stolen number plates are often used by offenders to make identification more difficult while committing further offences, such as frauds, thefts and traffic offences.
Queanbeyan Police are urging vehicle owners to secure their number plates with anti-theft screws, which can’t be removed by conventional tools. Anti-theft screws are available free-of-charge from the front counter of Queanbeyan Police Station. They may also be purchased online or from some automotive retailers.
“I encourage owners to regularly check their number plates and report any missing to police immediately. The types of crime are becoming more common due to the increasing quality of CCTV cameras at petrol stations and other businesses,” Inspector Hutchins said.
“In addition to fitting anti-thefts screws, some ways of reducing number plate theft are to park your vehicles underneath CCTV cameras and in well-lit areas. Park your vehicles in a garage and not on the street, and immediately report the theft to police.
“The provision of anti-theft screws to members of the community is just one way we, as police, can prevent crime and subsequent inconvenience to members of the community. It’s an inconvenience for car owners to have to report the theft, go to Service NSW, then order, pay and fit new plates.”
Inspector Hutchins said vehicle owners may also have to spend considerable time addressing toll notices or traffic offences including speed and red-light camera infringements.
“It will take 15 minutes to change your screws but may save hours into the future.”
He said Queanbeyan Police regularly work with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council to conduct anti-theft screw fittings at various locations in the area. The next day is planned on Wednesday, 19 February in Braidwood. These days are promoted on the Monaro Police District Facebook page.