It’s apparently quite common: thieves switching out license plates from stolen cars. It happened to a Ballard resident recently, who told KIRO TV that the swap went unnoticed for two days, until he was filling up gas and noticed his plates were different.
Someone had taken Tom Trombly’s plates, and replaced them with ones from a stolen car. He was able to pinpoint when it happened by contacting GoodToGo; he uses the 520 bridge for his daily commute, so the electronic tolling system could tell him when his plates changed.
Seattle Police told KIRO that the stolen plates came off a similar car, which was stolen from downtown Seattle the same night his plates were swapped out.
However, license plate theft is actually at a three-year low; there have been 470 reported cases so far this year, while last year, there were 859. SPD told KIRO that they suspect license plate thefts have gone down because they’ve gotten better at tracking them, making it a less lucrative crime.