Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S04-03-10
Vehicle Theft and Wanted Vehicle Procedures
Issue Date:23 February 2012Effective Date:23 February 2012
Rescinds:Version dated 13 July 1991; G91-10
Index Category:Preliminary Investigations
I.Purpose
This directive outlines procedures for the reporting and processing of information pertaining to wanted vehicles.
II.Procedures
  • A.Preliminary Investigation
    When it is determined in a preliminary investigation that the theft of a motor vehicle or both state license plates is bona fide, or that a vehicle has been used in connection with another offense and the vehicle has not been stolen, recovered, the reporting officer will:
    • 1.examine the vehicle owner's State Registration Card and City Vehicle License Receipt to verify the vehicle license plate number, state, month/year of expiration, vehicle identification number (VIN), and city vehicle tag number, city and year prior to entering this information on the appropriate case report. The officer will also request that the owner/victim produce his driver's license to confirm his identify and record the driver's license number in the narrative section of the appropriate case report.
    • 2.if the state license plate number, VIN or city vehicle license number is provided from memory or other source document, verify these numbers with the Secretary of State records through the dispatcher, the Hot Desk, or land based/mobile terminal computer. If the numbers:
      • a.have been verified, the officer will indicate in the narrative of the appropriate case report how the numbers were obtained (i.e, bill of sale, insurance policy, traffic citation, memory, etc.) and the method used to verify the numbers (i.e., dispatcher, Hot Desk, etc.).
      • b.have not been verified, the officer will indicate in either the VIN and license numbers verification box of the Vehicle Theft Case Report (CPD-11.412) or in the narrative of the appropriate case report which numbers were not verified.
  • B.When preparing a Vehicle Theft Case Report or any other report of an offense in which a motor vehicle is stolen during the commission of the offense, the officer will inform the owner/complainant that since the vehicle may be legally parked when recovered, he must indicate at the time the original report is being prepared whether he wants to:
    • 1.authorize the police to tow the vehicle when it is recovered, or
    • 2.be notified when the vehicle is recovered. The officer will advise the owner/complainant that if he requests notification, he will be responsible for retrieving his vehicle at the location of the recovery.
  • C.The officer will provide the Victim Information Notice (CPD-11.412, Part 3) form to the owner/complainant and explain that authorization for the Chicago Police Department to tow a stolen vehicle upon recovery in Chicago will involve payment of towing and storage fees before the vehicle can be released. If, at the time the theft is reported to the Department, the owner/complainant chooses not to authorize the Department to tow a recovered stolen vehicle, the owner/complainant bears all risk of loss and the Department will make no special effort to protect the vehicle until the owner recovers it.
  • D.The officer preparing the case report will request that the owner/complainant sign the report.
  • E.If the owner/complainant is willing to sign the case report and indicates that he wants the vehicle towed by the police, the officer will:
    • 1.check square 1 entitled "Owner/Complainant Requests Police Tow" on the last line of the narrative section of the report.
    • 2.have the owner/complainant sign his name in the space provided as authorization for the tow of his vehicle.
  • F.If the owner/complainant is willing to sign the report and indicates that he wants to be notified of the recovery, the officer will:
    • 1.check square 2 entitled "Owner/Complainant Requests Notification" on the last line of the narrative section of the report.
    • 2.have owner/complainant sign his name in the space provided. The signature will serve as notification that the owner/complainant has been informed of his options.
  • G.If the owner/complainant refuses to sign the report, the officer will check square 3 entitled "Options Given - Signature Refused" on the last line of the narrative section. Refusal to sign the report will be reported to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) dispatcher as "the owner/complainant requests notification."
  • H.In the event that the person reporting the vehicle theft is not the owner of the vehicle, the complainant will be requested to state whether the vehicle is to be towed upon recovery or if the owner/complainant is to be notified to retrieve his vehicle from the location of the recovery. If the person refuses to state a preference or sign the report, the officer will inform the OEMC dispatcher that the owner/complainant requests notification.
  • I.Upon completion of the appropriate case report, the officer will inform the OEMC City-wide III dispatcher whether the vehicle should be towed or the owner/complainant request notification. In addition, the officer will provide the dispatcher with all other information as required by existing Department directives and:
    • 1.notify the OEMC zone dispatcher that the theft of a motor vehicle or both state license plates is bona fide or that a motor vehicle has been stolen or used in connection with the commission of a particular crime.
    • 2.complete the appropriate case report, even if unable to obtain the vehicle license plate number, vehicle identification number or the city vehicle license number.
    • 3.report the following verified information to the OEMC City-wide III dispatcher:
      • a.vehicle license plate number, state, month/year of expiration, VIN or city vehicle license number, year and city. Although any one of these identifiers is sufficient to accommodate the entry of the preliminary steal into the computer system it is desirable to obtain all three of these identifiers.
      • b.vehicle year, make, body style, model and color.
      • c.location of theft, beat of occurrence and reporting unit.
      • d.date and time of occurrence.
      • e.name, address, business and home telephone numbers of registered owner.
      • f.RD Number.
    • 4.place an "X" in the appropriate "yes" squares of the VIN and license numbers verification box of the Vehicle Theft Case Report, to indicate which data (state plate, city vehicle, or VIN) of the stolen vehicle has been verified.
    • 5.if the vehicle has been stolen in connection with another offense, complete the vehicle identifier box of the General Offense Case Report (CPD-11.380). Vehicle identifier verification will be indicated in the narrative.
    • 6.indicate in the "Flash Message Sent" box of the appropriate case report if a flash message has been sent.
  • J.Office of Emergency Management and Communications
    • 1.Upon notification of a vehicle steal, wanted felony vehicle, wanted recovery, tow request or the owner requests notification or theft and recovery, the City-wide III dispatcher will:
      • a.enter all verified required data on a Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information formset (CPD-32.508) and indicate in the space provided whether the vehicle should be towed or not towed. In addition, he will enter the owner/complainant's preference into the computer.
      • b.enter all preliminary vehicle data into the computer in order to make this information immediately available to field officers. The data must be retrieved and checked to ensure that it is actually computerized.
      • c.forward the top white original (card) of the Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information formset to the Auto Reporting Desk.
    • 2.The OEMC watch commander is responsible for ensuring that the white original (card) is submitted to the Auto Reporting Desk within fifteen minutes from the time the dispatchers initiate them.
    • 3.When a request for a license check reveals that a vehicle is "wanted," the zone dispatcher will inform the inquiring officer of:
      • a.the fact that a vehicle is stolen or wanted in connection with the investigation of a crime.
      • b.the beat of occurrence and RD number of the original incident if the vehicle is a recovered stolen vehicle only.
      • c.the beat of occurrence and RD number of any criminal incident in which the vehicle was used.
      • d.additional units to notify as specified.
      • e.name and address of registered owner.
  • K.Auto Reporting Desk, Field Services Section
    • 1.Upon receipt of the Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information card from the zone dispatchers, Auto Reporting Desk personnel will be responsible for the verification of all information included on the Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information card against the computer entry for accuracy. The Auto Reporting Desk personnel will then promptly file the card in the back-up file to be used during computer down times.
    • 2.Upon receipt of the supporting case report for data previously entered into the computer on a preliminary basis, assigned personnel will enter into the computer all additional data necessary to satisfy the computer file, and will purge the Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information card.
  • L.Follow-up investigation (Bureau of Detectives)
    • 1.Stolen vehicles (reported on Vehicle Theft Case Reports)
      • a.The auto theft summary detective will:
        • (1)complete the information required in the "For Detective Division Use Only" portion of the original Vehicle Theft Case Report. The detective will then submit the report to his supervisor who will, if necessary, assign the case to a field detective.
        • (2)forward the original Vehicle Theft Case Report to the Records Processing Section of the Records Division.
      • b.The field detective will contact the Auto Reporting Desk and inform them of the results of the investigation when:
        • (1)verified data is obtained that was not listed on the original case report.
        • (2)the data listed on the original case report is incorrect.
        • (3)the theft is not bona fide.
    • 2.Stolen or wanted vehicles (reported on other than Vehicle Theft Case Reports)
      • a.The detective assigned to investigate an incident in which a motor vehicle or trailer was stolen or wanted in connection with an offense other than an auto theft (i.e., burglary, deceptive practice, robbery, etc.) will:
        • (1)obtain, verify or correct the VIN, state license number, month/year of expiration and city vehicle license number.
        • (2)verify computer entry via the land base computer terminal.
        • (3)contact the Auto Reporting Desk and notify them when:
          • (a)verified data is obtained and no computer entry exists.
          • (b)additional verified data is obtained.
          • (c)the crime is not bona fide.
  • M.A Supplementary Report (CPD-11.411-B) which unfounds a report in which a vehicle was stolen or wanted in connection with a crime or provides additional or corrected vehicle data will be marked "one copy to Auto Reporting Desk" in the extra copies required box.
III.Recovery Procedures
  • A.The officer who locates a stolen vehicle or a vehicle which is wanted in connection with a crime will proceed in the same manner as is appropriate to the investigation of any crime.
  • B.When a recovered vehicle is listed as stolen or wanted in connection with a crime, it is imperative that the recovering officer:
    • 1.ensures that the OEMC zone dispatcher is notified of the recovery information and indicates in the appropriate report how the vehicle is "cleared." However, Auto Theft Section detectives may notify the Field Services Section, Auto Reporting Desk, and the Automotive Pound Section, by PAX telephone of the recovery.
    • 2.includes the VIN in the report as seen on the vehicle at the time of recovery.
    • 3.prepares a Recovered Vehicle Supplementary Report (CPD-11.409) in all instances when a motor vehicle or trailer is recovered which was previously reported as stolen in Chicago. This report must be used no matter how the vehicle was stolen (i.e., theft, robbery, burglary, or deception). In instances wherein a vehicle is towed and is subsequently found to be stolen, the beat of recovery will be the original location of recovery. Vehicle Theft Case Reports will be prepared on cases when a motor vehicle is recovered that was stolen in another jurisdiction.
  • C.The recovering officer will complete the appropriate case report and a Vehicle Tow Report (CPD-11.413) when it is necessary to tow a stolen vehicle to an auto pound. If the information pertaining to the owner is not immediately available from the radio zone dispatcher for completion of the reports, the recovering officer will obtain the RD number from the dispatcher, prepare the Vehicle Tow Report in duplicate, and leave the original for the tow truck driver. All information available at the time of recovery will also be entered on the Recovered Vehicle Supplementary Report or the Vehicle Theft Case Report. The reports will be forwarded through normal channels.
  • D.A recovered stolen vehicle which is legally parked that is needed for evidence or further investigation or which constitutes a hazard (e.g., the ignition locking system has been defeated and the vehicle cannot be securely locked, etc.) will be towed without prior notification to the owner/complainant.
  • E.When an officer recovers a stolen vehicle (excluding a foreign recovery) which is LEGALLY PARKED and the vehicle is not needed for evidence or further investigation or which does not constitute a hazard, the officer will request the OEMC zone dispatcher to make a computer inquiry to determine if the vehicle should be towed or if the owner/complainant will retrieve his vehicle.
    • 1.If the computer inquiry indicates that the vehicle should be towed, the dispatcher will inform the officer to tow the vehicle. The officer will immediately complete the appropriate case report and a Vehicle Tow Report.
    • 2.If the computer inquiry indicates that the vehicle owner/complainant will retrieve the vehicle, the dispatcher will:
      • a.inform the officer that the vehicle owner/complainant will retrieve the vehicle. The officer will complete the appropriate case report.
      • b.follow established OEMC procedures to inform the owner/complainant of the location of the vehicle.
      • c.if the owner has been contacted prior to the time the officer returns to service, inform the recovering officer of the time of the notification. The officer will indicate in the Owner/Complainant Notified by COS Box of the Recovered Vehicle Supplementary Report or the narrative section of the appropriate case report that the owner/complainant has been notified by the OEMC and the date and time of the notification.
      • d.if the owner has not been contacted prior to the time the officer returns to service, inform the recovering officer that the owner/complainant has not been contacted. The officer will indicate in the Owner/Complainant Notified by COS Box of the Recovered Vehicle Supplementary Report or in the narrative section of the appropriate case report that the owner/complainant could not be contacted by the OEMC.
      • e.complete a Radio Dispatch Set/Vehicle Information formset and indicate the space provided whether or not the owner was notified of the recovery of his vehicle and the date and time of the notification. The white copy of the formset will be forwarded to the Field Services Section as notification that the vehicle has been recovered.
    • 3.The recovering officer should not delay the completion of the appropriate case report while awaiting notification from the dispatcher that the owner/complainant was or was not notified as indicated in Item III-E-2-c or d.
    • 4.If the computer inquiry does not indicate whether the owner/complainant should be notified or the vehicle towed, the OEMC dispatcher will call the telephone number(s) listed for the owner/complainant to determine his preference.
    • 5.If the owner/complainant cannot be contacted prior to the time the officer returns to service, the vehicle will not be towed and the officer will indicate in the Owner/Complainant Notified by COS Box of the Recovered Vehicle Supplementary Report or in the narrative section of the appropriate case report the words "Dispatcher unable to notify owner/complainant."
  • F.When an officer makes a recovery of a vehicle which was stolen outside of Chicago and the vehicle is LEGALLY PARKED, does not constitute a hazard or is not wanted for evidence or further investigation, the vehicle WILL NOT BE TOWED.
    • 1.The officer recovering the vehicle will prepare the appropriate case report and notify the OEMC dispatcher who will follow the applicable provisions of Item II-J of this order.
    • 2.The Field Services Section will ensure that the police agency which reported the vehicle theft is notified of the recovery. If advised by the police agency that the owner desires that his vehicle be towed, the Field Services Section will request the OEMC to assign a beat car to prepare a Vehicle Tow Report and follow established towing procedures.
  • G.When an officer makes a recovery of a vehicle which was stolen outside of Chicago and the vehicle is LEGALLY PARKED but does constitute a hazard or is wanted for evidence or further investigation, the vehicle will be towed, the officer will prepare the appropriate case reports and indicate in the narrative of the reports the reason for the tow.
  • H.When an officer recovers a vehicle which was stolen outside of Chicago and the vehicle is returned to the owner by the recovering officer; the officer will prepare the appropriate case report, request that the owner sign the report in the narrative section and indicate in the report that the vehicle was returned to the owner. The recovering officer will also notify the OEMC dispatcher that the vehicle was returned to the owner.
  • I.Officers recovering a stolen vehicle which is NOT LEGALLY PARKED will complete the appropriate case report and a Vehicle Tow Report and indicate in the narrative sections of the reports the nature of the violation and or the hazardous condition which necessitated that the vehicle be towed.
IV.District Review Officers
  • A.District review officers in the district of recovery, when a recovered vehicle has not been towed, will:
    • 1.review all case reports concerning the recovery of a stolen vehicle to determine if the owner/complainant was notified of the recovery by the OEMC.
    • 2.promptly prepare and send a Notification/Owner of Recovered Stolen Vehicle form letter (CPD-21.925) by certified mail through the Police Documents Section to the owner/complainant if notification was not made by the OEMC. This letter will not be sent to owners whose vehicles were stolen outside of Chicago.
    • 3.file a copy of the completed form letter with the relevant case report.
    • 4.forward a copy of the completed form letter to the district abandoned vehicle officer who will follow established procedures for processing abandoned autos.
    • 5.forward a copy of a Vehicle Theft Case Report involving a foreign recovery to the district abandoned vehicle officer who will follow established procedures for processing an abandoned auto if the vehicle is not moved within the prescribed period of time.
  • B.Form letters are available from the Equipment and Supply Section. Embossed number ten white envelopes (Commodity Number 23-3489-5312) will be used to mail the form letters.
(items indicated by italics/double underline were added or revised)
Authenticated by: RMJ
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
89-066/12-003 BW (JHP)/AMR