Thieves steal license plates, target San Leandro victims

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- Thieves are targeting cars in the East Bay, but they're not smashing windows to get the valuable goods inside. They're taking license plates instead.

Alan Koizumi says he woke up Monday morning and his license plate was gone, so he called the police.

It also happened to Virginia Johnson whose child noticed first. "She said, 'Mama, where's your license plate?' I said, 'What do you mean, it's on my car.' And she said, 'No it's not,' so I came out and the whole thing was gone."

Residents in the picturesque Broadmoor section of San Leandro have had their license plates vanish from their car overnight, all in the last ten days. The cars were all parked in driveways and on the street. Reports are lighting up social media.

One couple shared home surveillance video showing a man in light-colored pants standing by the back of a neighbor's car and later walking by their house, where both their vehicles had plates stolen. Police say the thieves could be stealing to make artwork.

"The only other thing we can think of is, we have criminals in town who are stealing license plates to put someone else's license plate on their car or a stolen car at the time they're doing a crime," said Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police.

Residents are on edge. "I actually moved my car, which I park here. I moved it up a bit just to be safe," said Christine Buyers.

"Whenever the dog reacts, now we go out to the front and see," said Koizumi.

Some are bolting plates to their cars instead of just using screws. Police hope extra vigilance will help them find the thieves.
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