Someone is committing fraud in Colorado with hundreds of blank vehicle titles stolen from a Wyoming county clerk’s office, the Wyoming Department of Transportation reported Wednesday.
WYDOT’s Wednesday statement says 500 blank Wyoming titles were stolen from a Wyoming county after May 1. They “could be used for fraudulent purposes,” and some have, the statement says.
Doug McGee, WYDOT spokesman, wouldn’t say which county the titles were stolen from because that information is part of an investigation.
He said it’s “likely” a person could use them to stake a false ownership claim on a stolen vehicle.
If whoever stole the blank titles is caught, there could be criminal charges filed in both Colorado and Wyoming, he said.
WYDOT first learned of the theft when a county official noticed a discrepancy in the remaining titles’ numbers and reported the theft, McGee said.
This is a crime that hasn’t happened in memory, McGee said, “Not in my close-to-23 years with the department.”
Albany County Clerk Kayla White said the titles weren’t taken from her office. And if they had been, she’d definitely notice since the titles follow a numerical sequence.
She also said it’s an unheard-of crime.
“I started working here in 2007 and I’ve never heard of it happening,” said White.
Campbell County Clerk Cindy Lovelace also said the missing titles aren’t from her office, but that they’re aware of the theft and are looking out in case someone tries to pass off a bogus title there.
“We’re on notice of these, so we’ll be watching to prevent these going through,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “We have the title numbers (of the stolen documents) to catch them, and they’ll go through a verification process.”
Lovelace said there’s plenty of security around the blank titles in her office.
“We do keep our locked and secure, and we keep track of them,” she said.
The clerk’s offices for Platte and Sheridan counties also said the documents weren’t stolen from their offices, and Cowboy State Daily couldn’t reach the county clerks from other Wyoming counties prior to this story being posted, including other counties that border Colorado, where some of the titles have been fraudulently passed.
White said the titles weren’t necessarily taken from a county that borders Colorado.
Keep A Lookout
WYDOT is asking people to watch out for “potential fraudulent titles.” The stolen titles fall between control numbers 8790001 and 8790500, says the statement.
The control numbers are located at the lower right side of the title in silver print with a security box around the number, says the statement with a photo of a sample title.
“The security seal has the letters W Y,” said Shane Fox, investigator with WYDOT’s Compliance and Investigation program, in the statement. “The control numbers are duplicated with the front green-colored title that goes to the owner and the back copy that is white in color and retained by Wyoming County clerks.”
Anyone who comes across one of the stolen titles should contact WYDOT’s compliance program at 307-777-3840, the statement says.
Update: The clerks of Converse and Fremont County both left Thursday voicemails with Cowboy State Daily after this story's publication, saying the titles were not stolen from their offices.