Police: Thief steals license plates, replaces them with stolen ones

A warning for drivers in Philadelphia after someone has been stealing license plates and replacing them with stolen ones. It's happening in Fishtown and Northern Liberties.

By the time Samantha saw police lights in her rearview, it was too late.

"They transfer the stolen plate onto your car and run off with your tag, so now you're driving around with the stolen plate," she told FOX 29.

And when cops run your plates they're thinking. "This car is stolen and I'm like no its not," she explained.

Sam showed officers her up to date insurance, legal registration , but it was not enough.

"They wound up impounding the car till I showed them proof that it was my car," she said.

That took 30 days and cost her $1,800.

Captain Krista Dahl-Campbell says watchful police are picking up on a pattern. They're investigating whether it's one person or a group.

"They're getting tickets in the mail or they're getting an E-ZPass pass violation something like that that's notifying them wait that's not my car," Captain Campbell said.

Campbell's officers alerted community members and now neighbors are staying vigilant.

"The only way to find out is to write down or memorize your number and take a quick glance to know if that's still the number and that way if it does happen you'll know when and where police can go and talk to neighbors and see if there's security footage," Matt Ruben with the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association said.