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The Life Of A Car Thief Just Got Tougher

5 May, 2005

The Life Of A Car Thief Just Got Tougher

A new service launched today means car thieves will have to contend with a legion of stolen car spotters who could receive potential rewards if they spot a stolen car and report it by sending a text message.

It creates a unique service which empowers all New Zealanders to assist in reducing vehicle theft.

Called Spotter.Co.Nz, it provides members of the public the ability to check on cars they believe may be stolen simply by texting the car's registration plate to Spotter at 8811. For the first time, the public can become 'the eyes of the nation' when looking for stolen vehicles.

For the thief it means every person in New Zealand armed with a cellphone could be texting a stolen car's whereabouts to Spotter.

If the text leads to the direct recovery of a stolen car, the spotter who reports the vehicle will receive a minimum spotters reward of $150. For high value cars the spotter reward may be as high as $10,000. The identity of the spotter remains anonymous.

Anyone will be able to search for suspicious cars on the Spotter website at They can also become registered users which enables them to be notified via their cellphone of missing vehicles in their region.

Spotter director Frank de Jong says with 35,000 car thefts per year costing the insurance industry an estimated $280 million, insurance companies have been quick to support the new venture.

"The longer a stolen car goes undetected, the less likelihood of a successful recovery of the property," says Frank de Jong.

"By using the eyes and ears of the nation we're going to see a lot more cars recovered quickly with possibly a lot less damage done to them.

"The insurance companies will benefit and more importantly, their clients who have vehicles stolen are going to have a better chance of getting their car back.

"Our intention is to work with the NZ Police, Insurance Companies to provide positive results to the New Zealand public."

Stolen car information is supplied by the insurance companies and is then available immediately for comparison with number plates texted in from throughout the country.

Stolen car data remains in the database indefinitely or until a car is located.

The service is available nationwide from Thursday May 5, 2005.


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