Your car has been stolen…
now what?

1

Make sure your car has really been stolen.

It’s sounds funny, but we’ve all been there when we’ve been inside the store or at a meeting for too long and realize we’re standing in the parking lot forgetting where we parked. Take a few minutes after initially panicking to think and recall where you parked.  If you parked in a tow-away zone, check the impound/tow service before making a stolen vehicle report.  You might save some embarrassment and paperwork.

2

Call the police ASAP.

Once you’re sure you haven’t misplaced your ride, or haven’t been towed, then call the police to report the stolen car.  Make sure you also report any belongings that were in the vehicle at the time of the theft.   A bit of a relief:  92% of stolen passenger cars in Colorado are recovered within a month.

3

Report your stolen vehicle to your insurance company.

Make sure you inform your carrier that you are not in possession of your vehicle.

4

Complete a list of all stolen property and personal effects left in the car.

This includes anything of value such as mail, keys, office badge, identifying information, and any other personal property.

5

Report the stolen car to the CDMV.

Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles: https://www.colorado.gov/dmv

6

Use social media and the internet.

Consider using Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to inform your friends that your car is stolen.  Check online avenues that the car thief may use to try selling your car, like Craigslist.  One of the tenant of community policing is ‘police are the public and that the public are the police’, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.  Many stolen vehicles are recovered by concerned citizens and, at times, the theft victims themselves.

7

Cancel credit cards and ID cards.

Cancel any cards that you may have left in your vehicle.

8

Consider changing your locks.

It may be safest to re-key your home or office if you left house keys or office keys in the vehicle, and/or informing your employer of the potential security compromise to your office.

What to Expect if
Your Stolen Car is Recovered

Make sure the police are aware.
If the police did not find your car, make sure you call them first to let them know your car has been recovered. Your vehicle was likely entered into the National Crime Information Center when it was reported stolen. Only the police can remove the stolen status, so make sure you let them know you have your car back, or you could find yourself being pulled over and suspected of driving a stolen vehicle.

Have your vehicle cleaned.
Many opportunistic auto thieves are heavily involved in the use of drugs, such as methamphetamine or heroin. These thieves may use your car as a place to smoke, use drugs, eat, sleep and otherwise live. The thieves may leave garbage, body fluid, and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. You will want to have your car cleaned once it is recovered.

Call your car insurance carrier
and inform them your car has been recovered.

Have your vehicle inspected for damage.
Thieves have zero concern for the condition of your car, and no regard for the investment and value of your car. Some car thieves may use your car to commit other crimes, such as home burglaries, drug trafficking, and armed robberies. In these cases, you may find drugs, drug paraphernalia, or evidence that your vehicle was used in other crimes. Some thieves may damage your car as a result of crashing into objects or getting into police pursuits. Some thieves may have used your car for parts – taking or dismantling mechanical, electrical or body parts. All of these reasons justify having your vehicle appropriately inspected, and when needed, notify law enforcement officials and insurance adjusters.