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Before reporting a stolen vehicle:

  • Was the vehicle stolen in the City of Saint Paul? If not, call the police department of the city where it was last seen.
  • If the vehicle was in Saint Paul, call the Impound Lot at 651-292-6005 to check to see if the car is there. Often times, vehicles thought to be stolen are, in fact, towed due to parking violations.
  • Have you missed one or more car payments? If you suspect your vehicle may have been repossessed, call your finance company.

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I let someone use my car and they haven’t returned it:

This is referred to as a Breach of Trust. Breach of trust is a generic term used for documenting the origination date of a civil dispute in which a vehicle is taken under circumstances other than auto theft.

Examples of situations which are considered a breach of trust:

  • A situation where the vehicle is loaned to another for a certain length of time, and the vehicle is not returned as promised.
  • A situation where an intimate relationship develops, even if short in duration, where the owner/possessor of the vehicle finds her/his vehicle missing.
  • An auto dealer lets a vehicle out for a test drive, and the vehicle is not returned in the period of time designated.
  • A rental car agency lets a vehicle out, and the renter does not return the vehicle within the prescribed time.
  • A business setting where an employee has the vehicle in the field and does not return it to the business.

Call 651-291-1111 to report a breach of trust. Only Saint Paul police officers will have knowledge of the breach involving your vehicle (The vehicle plates and VIN will be entered into a local system, but not the national system). Should your vehicle be stopped, it may be towed and you, as the owner, are responsible for all related expenses.

Officers stopping vehicles reported as a breach of trust will positively identify, but not arrest, the driver and other occupants unless there are other reasons to make an arrest. They will attempt to notify the owner to pick up the vehicle, but if unable to make contact with the owner, they will have the vehicle towed to the Impound Lot to be held for the owner.

 If the vehicle is not returned within thirty days of the reported breach of trust, then the situation can be pursued as an auto theft.

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Reporting a stolen vehicle:

  • Call 651-291-1111 to report a stolen vehicle.
  • Only the registered owner may report a stolen vehicle.
  • You must have the license plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Don’t know the license plate or VIN? Try looking on your latest insurance statement or the Certificate of Title.
  • When you call to report a stolen car, the call-taker will ask for the above information, ask for a description of what happened, and ask for a description of the vehicle. The more detail you can provide (stickers, unique damage, after market parts, colors, etc.) the better.
  • The call-taker will query the current status of the car in various databases and may be able to determine at that time if your car was towed or repossessed, rather than stolen. They will provide you with the information.
  • Ask the call-taker for the Complaint Number (CN).
  • The call-taker will enter a dispatch for a police officer to respond to you to take a report of a stolen vehicle.
  • Report the loss to your insurance company and give them the complaint number (CN).

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Your Car Was Stolen and You Reported It. What Happens Now?

  • After meeting with you and verifying the car was stolen, the police officer will contact the data channel. Your vehicle’s information and status as a stolen vehicle will be entered into a nation-wide database available to all police officers on patrol. Many, but not all, stolen cars are recovered in just a few days.
  • The officer’s report will be forwarded to the Auto Theft Unit. An Auto Theft Unit investigator will review the report for leads, and, if none, will hold it pending the car’s recovery or other evidence or information that will lead to the car’s recovery. Remember, every police officer nation-wide has the information at their fingertips about your stolen car and are looking for it.
  • The investigator will be especially looking towards the recovery of your car as that development can lead to further information and evidence that will lead to the successful identification and prosecution of the offender.
  • Upon recovery of your car, the investigator will review the case for additional evidence or other information that will assist in the investigation. Their goal is to identify the offender and identify and secure evidence of the crime to support presenting the case for prosecution, if the elements of the crime are there.
  • If the elements are sufficient, the case will be presented for prosecution. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office will either issue a summons (requesting the suspect to appear in court), or a warrant for the suspect’s arrest, depending on the circumstances of the case.
  • You should have already contacted your insurance company. They will work with you on the claim and other issues related to the disappearance of your car.

You Recovered Your Own Car:

  • If you find and recover your own stolen vehicle, it is very important that you notify the police department right away. You will need to meet with an officer to cancel the stolen vehicle report. The risks of driving a vehicle that is a reported stolen, but not yet reported as stolen and canceled, are very real making it a requirement to report it in person right away. Call 651-291-1111 to report you found and recovered your stolen vehicle.

How Will I Know When My Car is Recovered?

  • No matter where your car is found, if found in the City of Saint Paul or by another agency, the Saint Paul Police Department is notified of its recovery.
  • The vehicle’s status is updated in the nation-wide database to reflect that it is no longer a stolen vehicle.
  • A broadcast is made over radio channels to let officers who may be looking know your vehicle has been recovered.
  • You may be contacted at the time the vehicle is recovered and the vehicle turned directly over to you. This is at the officer’s discretion based upon call load, difficulty of communication, or other factors. Usually an attempt is made by phone to contact the owner upon recovery.
  • If that was not possible, the vehicle may be towed to the agencies impound lot for safekeeping until you are notified and the car can be released to its rightful owner.
  • The impound lot is required to send notice by certified mail to the registered owner of a motor vehicle at the address on the registration that the car has been impounded.

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What About the Impound Fees?

Victims of stolen cars may seek reimbursement of their towing and storage fees through their insurance company if the policy coverage is adequate.

More information on car theft and other crime can be found at

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Last Edited: November 8, 2019