Share this page Print

Auto theft - FAQ

What is revining or cloning?

In most instances, this relates to cases where thieves will steal a motor vehicle and then look for a similar vehicle that’s advertised for sale in another city, province or even another country. The thieves make up a fraudulent VIN plate based on the vehicle for sale and install this VIN in the stolen vehicle. A fake bill of sale will be created and the stolen vehicle will be registered and then sold to an unsuspecting consumer.

How do I check if a vehicle is stolen?

The public can access the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and search reported stolen vehicles by entering the VIN or licence plate of the vehicle in question. The buyer should also look closely at the VIN on the lower left dashboard to see if it looks genuine and compare the VIN plate to other VIN plates made by the same car manufacturer. Also compare the VIN plate on the dashboard to the Federal Standards Decal located on the drivers door frame. Be wary if the Decal is obscured or appears to be peeling off. Take note of the person selling the vehicle by asking to see photo identification and comparing the person to the photograph in the licence. Remember, regardless of the story the seller is telling you - if the price seems too good to be true it probably is. Trust your instinct as there are plenty of legitimate vehicles for sale.

Will an Alberta Motor Vehicle Registry store tell me if a vehicle is stolen?

No, the Registry does not have access to this type of information.

What do I do if my vehicle is stolen?

First, confirm that the vehicle is actually stolen. In 2011, there were 559 vehicles reported stolen in error to the Calgary Police Service. In many cases the caller(s) simply forgot where they had parked the vehicle or the vehicle had been towed because it was illegally parked or involved in a civil dispute. The public can call the municipal impound lot at 403-537-7111 to see if the vehicle is there. If the vehicle is legitimately stolen, call 403-266-1234 to report it and obtain a case number. Call 9-1-1 if you see your vehicle being stolen and be prepared to provide the make, model, colour and licence plate number.

My friend/relative took my vehicle without me knowing. Is this a crime?

Yes, depending on the circumstances the individual can be charged for taking a motor vehicle without consent - Section 335(1) of the Criminal Code.