Crime • Motives are uncertain since thief skipped over valuables left in plain sight.
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Salt Lake City police Thursday continued to investigate who broke into nine different cars on an Avenues street and made off with vehicle registration paperwork.
Detective Dennis McGowan said the vehicles parked along K Street were broken into and rummaged through Wednesday. But perhaps most puzzling was the items the thief targeted.
In several cases, the thief skipped over valuables left in plain sight and instead stole the vehicle registration paperwork.
"There were other items, in some cases of value or relative value, that were overlooked," McGowan said.
Nathan Postell spent part of Wednesday morning armed with a broom, sweeping up shattered glass. He had came over to help his girlfriend clean up after the thief smashed it to gain access to the car.
He said someone had obviously rifled through papers inside the car, but somehow overlooked the registration paperwork. Postell said the thief stole a broken iPod, but didn't steal some expensive art supplies left in plain view in the back seat.
"These people actually [came] with a motive and a plan involved, it just blows my mind," Postell said of learning that registrations had been stolen from vehicles.
McGowan said thieves usually steal vehicle registrations along with garage door openers so they can return at a later time to burglarize the homes.
But as many of the targeted vehicles didn't have attached garages associated with them or openers stolen, police aren't quite sure what the thief plans to do with the stolen registrations.
The documents don't contain much personal information other than the name of the owner, the address where the vehicle is registered, the plate number and Vehicle Identification Number, police said.
"If you take those, you can't use them as a valid registration," McGowan said. "I'm not sure what they would do with them."