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How You Could Help Catch a Thief
During the course of their investigations, police sometimes encounter quantities of suspicious goods. For example, a person suspected of theft may claim that 7 televisions, 5 mobile phones and 6 computers in their possession all belong to them. Unless police can prove otherwise, they have to assume that the suspect is telling the truth.

However, if any of the serial numbers on the suspect goods can be traced to someone else, then police have grounds to investigate further and possibly arrest the suspect. By registering your property in the Serial Number Registry, you increase the probability that police will find a match for the serial number on a suspicious item. You also give police a way to identify you as its rightful owner, AND help catch a thief!

Imagine you were the resident in the following story:

Thief's Number Came Up, Thanks To Serial Number Registry

A young male was charged with numerous offences on Tuesday afternoon following a routine traffic stop.

When a driver was stopped for a minor traffic violation, police noticed a PlayStation 2 console, controllers and several games had been tossed into the rear seat of the vehicle. When asked why the game unit was in his car, the driver seemed unsure of how it got there, but claimed it was his. The driver consented to an examination of the unit, and so the officer checked the console's serial number in the Serial Number Registry.

The Registry listed the owner of the PlayStation, who was not the driver. This information provided grounds to perform a search of the vehicle, which revealed that the trunk of the car was filled with stolen items. It turned out that a residence had been broken into that day, and the PlayStation and items in the trunk were missing from the home.

After interviewing the suspect at headquarters, police were able to obtain a search warrant for his suite, where they found numerous items reported stolen from other residences.

The suspect, who cannot be named because he is under 18, has now been charged with several counts of theft and possession of stolen property.

"None of these charges would have been laid if the owner had not registered their property in the Serial Number Registry", said the police officer. "At the time we stopped the suspect, the owner had not reported the crime. If the serial number of the gaming unit had not returned a match in the Registry, we would not have had any grounds to search his vehicle, and he would have got away."

Police say that when a theft is reported, it can take several days for the serial numbers of stolen items to be entered into police computers. During that period, checks of suspicious property will not return a match for the stolen items.
Items to Register
Some items that usually have serial numbers on them include:
  • computers
  • monitors
  • printers
  • televisions
  • PVRs / DVDs
  • video game units
  • satellite receivers
  • stereos / radios
  • car electronics / GPS
  • musical instruments
  • lawn mowers
  • chain saws
  • bicycles
  • mobile phones
  • cameras
  • power tools
  • sports equipment
  • 2-way radios
Tip: serial numbers of small items like cell phones are sometimes hidden under the battery.