Stolen inspection stickers may be selling on the streets

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Some crooks are hoping to make a fast buck on your desperation by selling stolen inspection stickers. So far in two cases, crooks have stolen inspection sticker booklets from auto body shops.

If you're caught with one of these stolen stickers you could be in trouble too.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Some crooks hope to bank on that!

"The economy is tough right now. People are having a hard time and if they can buy a sticker for $50 cause they need $200 worth of tires on their car, they're going to buy the $50 sticker," said George Elder, owner of Elder's Garage.

A thief swiped an entire book of state inspection stickers from Elder's garage on Jeff Davis Highway late last month.

The crook pried open Elder's heavy duty tool box after kicking in his back door.

"They didn't disturb anything else. They went from point A to point B to point C. They knew where they were going," said Elder.

The night before, police said Garland's auto body shop, also on Jeff Davis, was hit with the same M.O. A second inspection sticker booklet is now in the wrong hands.

"There's a good possibility that it is connected," said Chesterfield Detective Adrian Otero.

The stickers are $16, when your car passes the yearly state inspection. But Detective Otero said thieves are selling them for three times that much to people who can't afford to make their cars street legal.

"They could very well spend 60, 70, 80 dollars for an inspection sticker and not have to worry about those repairs for a whole 'nother year," said Det. Otero.

If you're pulled over for a traffic stop and the officer notices something wrong about your car.  He might run the sticker serial number and you could be caught.

"If we see bald tires and a fairly new inspection sticker, we're going to know there's something not right," said Det. Otero.

Det. Otero's advice: get the repairs to avoid the risk of going to jail.

Back at Elder's Garage the stickers may now be harder to get to.

"It's heavy enough if they take it out of here, they're going to need a piece of equipment," said Elder.

Just having a stolen sticker could get you up to a year in jail and  up to a one $1,000 fine.

If you have information about either break in --- or know someone trying to sell inspection stickers on the street, call Crime Solvers at 748-0660.

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