Auto Tag Thefts Double In South Philly's 3rd Police District

Auto Tag Thefts Double In South Philly's 3rd Police District

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PHILADELPHIA -

"It was a shame. I said what the heck is going on here?" recalls James O'Connor. He came outside his South Philly home on Morris Street Tuesday afternoon and found the back of his car bare.

"All they had to do is scoop in here between cars and you can't see them from either side," says James. He believes that sometime between Monday night and early Tuesday morning, someone stole the license plate off his car.

"If I would have caught them I would have probably bashed them in the head. It's a shame," he says.

The feisty 81-year-old is disabled, so he had handicap tags. He wonders if that's the reason the thief chose his car out of all the others parked bumper to bumper on the block.

"They'll pick it up and probably sell it," says James.

Officer Michael Duffy says auto tag thefts in the third district have doubled. There were 18 stolen in July. Normally the average is six to ten.

"If someone sees something suspicious like someone bending over behind a car, call 911," advises Duffy. He also says that the incidents are random and spread out. In the past week thieves hit up 6 cars on Pattison, Fitzgerald, Gerritt, Ritner, Morris and South Street. Most were standard plates. Duffy cautions criminals that Philadelphia Police districts have cars equipped with tag readers to track stolen plates.

"If one is stolen, the officer operating that vehicle is going to know quickly," he warns.

James says it's an inconvenience having to pay to get new tags and not being able to drive his car until he does.

"I'm really disturbed. Just mad. Put it that way," says James.

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