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Police investigating string of license plate thefts around Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Thieves are hitting vehicles, but this time they aren't after what’s inside the car.

They're going after license plates.

In one night, IMPD took in nearly 20 reports of stolen license plates. Police aren't sure if these thieves had a reason behind which ones they stole or if it was random.

“There’s a number of reasons why someone might go after a license plate. It could be they simply do know want to pay the registration fee for their vehicle or it could be a little more lucrative, like they’re looking to steal vehicles similar to the plates their stealing off of,” said Jim Gillespie, an IMPD officer.

At this point, police aren't certain if they’re looking for one thief or if this involved a group of thieves working together. The spree was spread out all over the city.

“It’s crazy I mean, people do anything these days,” said Tina Karol, a victim.

Thieves stole the license plate off Karol’s daughter’s car as it was parked right outside their home. Unfortunately, she was stuck with the replacement bill.

“It’s hard. She’s 20 years old, she’s a young mom, she’s got a baby and she’s currently pregnant. So I mean, $50 is a lot for her,” said Karol.

The pile of plates could be used to cover up a different crime or could build up to a bigger one.

“So a license plate being stolen could lead to vehicles broken into which could lead to houses being broken into and so and so forth,” said Gillespie.

Investigators are giving these criminals a warning, that same plate they stole could be end up the tip that helps track them down.

“These license plates are now reported as stolen they’re going to be in our database as stolen so when an officer comes across it and they run this plate the jokes on the criminal, we’re going to get them so they can just expect to hear from us shortly,” said Gillespie.

If your license plate was recently stolen, police want you to call them and file a report.