Florida cracks down on stolen goods
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Nov 05, 2000
A new state law enforcement Web site hopes to make Floridians more active
partners with police in locating stolen property, wanted persons and missing
persons. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which unveiled the site
(www.fdle.state.fl.us) in October, hopes to put a dent in the theft of
personal property, which exceeded $745 million in the first half of this
year, said spokesman Al Dennis. He said less than a third of the stolen
property was recovered.
"This is the first state in the country to offer this information on
a statewide basis over the Internet," Dennis said, adding that they modeled
the site after a similar system by a Polk County, Fla., law enforcement
The site lists data on stolen vehicles, vehicle parts, license plates,
boats, boat parts, guns, appliances, televisions and stereos. By December,
the agency hopes to post data about wanted and missing persons.
To find out if a car is stolen, users enter a vehicle identification
number, license plate or owner-applied number. If the car is stolen, information
about the theft is listed and the user is prompted for further information
about the item. Dennis said the user can send an anonymous e-mail tip, which
would be forwarded to the appropriate local agency, or the user can call
the local agency directly.
Dennis admitted that it might be difficult for the public to identify
stolen articles, such as appliances, televisions and stereos, because many
people don't know those items' serial numbers. But he said he hoped the
site would encourage people to make note of such information.
Local and county law enforcement agencies send such data to the state
agency, which acts as a central repository for the records, Dennis said.
Currently, the agency contains more than 150,000 records of stolen guns
and about 74,000 records of stolen vehicles.