License Plate Stickers Stolen
MILWAUKEE - License plate stickers are being ripped off and sold on the black market, and every time that happens, we’re all paying the price.
The price of those stickers recently went up almost 67 percent.
That makes them a more attractive target for thieves, and it's leaving many drivers angry.
Police say it's happening more often...stolen license plate stickers. Sometimes the thieves peel it off. Other times, they clip the plate itself.
One driver even wrote a note for police right on the plate to explain that the sticker had been stolen.
Bill Kelly had his sticker taken twice.
“It’s an infringement on your privacy. I park in a private parking lot. I don't park on the street,” Kelly said.
His sticker was stolen more than once. His neighbor’s was also taken, right off their vehicles. Kelly isn't taking any more chances. His new sticker is not on the plate. He keeps it right under the visor where thieves will have a much tougher time getting at it.
“It certainly is irritating to me as a taxpayer on the dollar side of things,” Kelly said.
It costs all of us. Stickers recently went up from $45 to $75 annually. A Department of Transportation source said that part of the increase is to cover the revenue lost to black market sticker sales.
The aggressive tactics of the thieves can lead to more than just stolen stickers. On one license plate, the whole side where the sticker once was is sheared off and the plastic frame that held the sticker and the plate was also damaged.
“I was shocked. I didn’t really know what happened,” Kevin Rutkowski said.
Rutkowski teaches at MATC. In the middle of the day, thieves cut off the whole side of his plate to get the sticker, and police told him there is an active black market for the stickers.
“Then what they do is sell them on the street for $10. They sell them to people who haven't renewed their plates. There's a market for it,” Rutkowski said.
It's not just cars. Eddie Guy had the sticker stolen off his garbage truck.
“It does make me a little angry, but what are you going to do about it? Can't do anything about it,” Guy said.
Police say there actually is something you can do.
“Then put that sticker on and run a razor blade through it a couple of times, almost like a tic tac toe because then it won't affect the sticker itself, but if someone tries to take it, it's going to come off in pieces and they're probably going to go somewhere else,” Joel Dhein of the Glendale Police Department said.
“Hopefully they get caught and actually end up having to manufacture license plates,” Rutkowski said.
The DMV gives out more than 50,000 replacement stickers each year.
This story was first brought to the TODAY’S TMJ4 I-Team’s attention by our Call for Action volunteers.
If you have a consumer issue you need help with, contact Call for Action. You can reach our volunteers at 967-5495. You can also send them an e-mail through todaystmj4.com.