Hot line to counter auto thefts If rings broken up, rewards will be paid

November 26, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF

County police hope to make a dent in soaring auto theft cases with a hot line that lets citizens turn in thieves and those who own stolen vehicles.

With a $101,600 grant from the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, the county police auto theft squad has set up the hot line and answering machine, said Sgt. James A. Standiford, who heads the squad.

Maryland ranks 12th in the nation for total vehicle thefts, and ninth per capita, according to prevention council statistics.

County police statistics show that arrests for auto theft increased by more than 300 percent from 1993 to 1994.

The majority of the cars stolen are used for joy riding, Sergeant Standiford said.

"The hot line is only to identify persons involved in the theft of a vehicle or anyone who might possess a stolen vehicle, motorcycles, boats or construction equipment," he said.

Citizens can leave police an anonymous message or use the number listed on the answering message to speak to a detective, who will accept information on thefts in Anne Arundel County and neighboring jurisdictions.

Sergeant Standiford said reward money will be offered to citizens who supply information that helps police break up car theft rings and chop shops.

Laptop computers and car phones, also paid for by the grant, will allow officers to check license numbers and VIN numbers instantly with crime reporting agencies, he said.

Anyone with information about stolen vehicles, boats or construction equipment in Anne Arundel County or neighboring jurisdictions may call the Auto Theft Hot Line at 222-3434.

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