Police have said thieves stealing people's license plates and putting them on stolen cars is a crime that's becoming more common in Anchorage.

"We've seen the theft of one plate. We've seen the theft of both plates. We've also seen the theft of plates and then other stolen plates are put in their place," Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Renee Oistad said.



Oistad said one way to deter this type of crime is to make it harder for thieves to remove your plates. Fortunately, that could be as easy as changing out the screws.

The items you'll need can be found at most hardware, automotive or big box stores.

Home Depot carries a large selection of one-way screws. Assistant store manager Charles Phillips explained that this type of screw has a special head that goes on easily with a regular flat head screwdriver, but getting them off is much more difficult.

"They could probably undo it with a wrench or cut it with a Dremel," Phillips said. "But those are things that the thieves aren't going to want to do because it takes a lot of time or it's loud."

A four-pack of Everbilt one-way sheet metal screws, enough to switch out your plates, was $1.18.

Phillips noted that license plate screws come in different sizes so it's a good idea to remove one from your plate and bring it into the store to make sure you can match it up with the correct size.

Auto parts stores offer another type of security screw. O'Reilly Auto Parts sells screws with a center stud that require a special type of Allen wrench to put them on or take them off — something a thief may not have in their regular tool bag. A package of four is $6.99.

Whatever method you choose to secure your license plates, it only cost a few dollars to buy you peace of mind.

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