Ask a Cop: Can I alter my registration to prevent car thieves from coming to my house?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski


Q: I read on Facebook that, for safety reasons and to prevent burglaries, you should not keep your original car registration in your glove box because a car thief would be able to locate your house with the address listed on the registration. Instead you should make a copy of the registration and “Black Out” the address. What do you suggest?

A: First of all, “No” you may not alter your car registration. Secondly, I have heard this type of advice before, but I have also never heard of any instances of that actually happening. Why would a car thief go to the registered owner’s house? To return the car when they are done? Car thieves don’t look at stealing cars as a method to find houses to burglarize, although we have seen the opposite occur where houses have been burglarized and cars left in garages were stolen in the burglary. Modern safety and security features on cars have pretty much put an end to the traditional auto theft, where thieves punch door locks and ignitions with screwdrivers, or “twist some wires” and drive off with cars. Most auto thefts involving newer cars involve drugs trades, fraud, keys left in ignitions, or what turns out to be people who actually lent out their car to begin with. It is pretty darn hard to steal a newer car if you don’t have a key. The only ones who really are successful at it are organized auto theft thieves and their only interest is in the car and not breaking into your house.

Q: I recently got pulled over by the State Police to tell me that my license plate frame was too big and that I could not block any of the stickers. After I took it off when I got home, there were only two stickers there. I am not sure what I am supposed to do.

A: The officer was very much correct as all three stickers must be visible and not blocked by anything. Indiana law prohibits license plate frames or covers obscuring stickers, text or numbers on your plate. Your Indiana plate should have three stickers which are:

• An indicator/sticker in the top right-hand corner showing the year in which your registration expires and must be renewed.

• An indicator/sticker in the top left-hand corner showing the month and day on which your registration expires and must be renewed.

• An indicator/sticker in the bottom right-hand corner showing the county in which your vehicle is registered.

If any of these stickers are missing, you must obtain new ones through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Q: Do the police check messages received by a person who has committed suicide or has overdosed?

A: Actually, it depends on the circumstances. Are you talking about letters, emails, text messages, Facebook or twitter? There are sometimes a lot of circumstances involving a death and all avenues are explored.

Q: I have been shopping for a newer used car and found one for sale online. I found my dream car and looked it over really good. I did a “CARFAX” report and found that the car was in an accident in Michigan City a year ago. Can I get a copy of this report to see the extent of the accident and damages?

A: Yes you can! This is a very good idea. Accident reports are public knowledge and can be obtained through our department for $8, or you may obtain one through the internet at for a $12 fee. I hope it all works out for you and your “Dream Car!”

Well everyone, as times change, we must all adapt to new things. I will continue to write my column and I hope everyone still enjoys the questions and answers! Unfortunately, I will have to end the riddle portion as with the new delivery system of the paper I can’t make the riddle work on Friday afternoons as a number of readers get their papers later in the day by mail. If I receive responses that you would like the riddles to return I will then come up with another plan to award prizes.

The answer to last column’s riddle of who won the detective race and what order they came in? Tim was first, Dave was second, Arwen was third, Anna was fourth, and Steve is our slowest detective!

To ask a question, please contact me, Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext 1020, or email

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