When a vehicle is stolen, it can disappear off the radar permanently if action is not taken immediately to find and recover the car. Taking proactive measures, such as taking detailed photographs of your vehicle and recording the vehicle identification number or VIN, long before your car is stolen can improve your chances of recovery.
Notify the police immediately after discovering the vehicle was stolen. Provide police with as much detail as possible, including a description of the car with year, make and model, pictures of the car and the vehicle identification number. Obtain a copy of the police report for your records.
Contact the company of the GPS monitoring system if your car is equipped with one. The company can begin tracking the movement of the vehicle and help locate it more quickly. OnStar, for example, provides a device that slows down a vehicle reported stolen by denying the driver use of the gas pedal.
Notify your insurance company and include a copy of the police report for their records.
Create fliers and posters containing pictures of your vehicle, along with details about the make, year, model and color. Consider offering a reward for information that leads to the recovery of your vehicle. Post fliers around your neighborhood and town so others can keep an eye out for your car and report back to you if it is seen.
Perform a VIN search on a site like Carfax.com. Carfax will search the vehicle history and, if someone has sold your stolen car, it may appear in the database.
- Unofficial Guide to the DMV: Stolen Vehicles
- CNET: OnStar to automatically slow stolen vehicles
- FBI. "Motor Vehicle Theft." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau. "NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. "Avoid Buying a Stolen Vehicle." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- AutoCheck. "What Is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?" Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau. "VINCheck." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- Carfax. "Carfax Vehicle History Reports." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.