INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – What started as a routine traffic stop turned into a much larger theft investigation by Indiana State Police (ISP).
Troopers believe the crime might involve dozens of victims.
On patrol this week, Master Trooper Shana Kennedy noticed something unusual at the intersection of Holt and Kentucky.
“The trooper noticed a plate that looked like it was false, and further investigation revealed that it was,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine.
The temporary tag had the numbers 7145840. While most people wouldn't notice the numbers didn’t match the chronological order the Indiana BMV uses on valid plates, the state trooper did. That set off what turned out to be an unusual investigation.
“Often times these traffic stops snowball into bigger investigations and that's what happened here. As they searched the car they found lot of what appeared to be stolen items,” said Perrine.
In addition to the suspect’s car being reported stolen, troopers found sealed newspapers from 1963, the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Twenty-eight credit cards under various names were also discovered.
“Some of these items were very unique. We know somebody out there is missing them, so we're hoping to find the owners of these items,” said Perrine.
Troopers arrested the driver, Michael Wood, after police also found two autographed Super Bowl footballs, four cell phones and a small amount of meth inside the stolen car.
According to court records, “Wood could not explain all of these articles and just kept saying they had been in the car when he got it.”
“That's all part of the investigation, but we believe they were stolen items,” said Perrine.
Troopers are using the names on the credit cards to track down potential victims and anyone with information on the historic newspapers or the signed footballs can still contact state police.
“Often times traffic stops lead to bigger investigations and solving bigger crimes, so something as simple as false license plate could potentially solve a large crime ring,” said Perrine.
Wood was booked into the Marion County jail on simple drug related charges. He's due in court next week.