MESA, AZ - Having your license plate stolen off your car may be more common than you realize.
The Mesa Police Department says so far in 2018, 196 license plate thefts have been reported to their department.
Police say criminals often steal license plates to put on stolen vehicles, or vehicles that were just used to commit a crime. Switching plates can make it harder for police to track down the criminals.
For just a few dollars, police say you can easily protect the plate on your vehicle. Auto part stores sell things like theft-resistant screws that require a specialized tool to remove instead of a standard screwdriver.