SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – For Sacramento police officer Kurt Wilhite, stolen cars are a dime a dozen.
“They’re everywhere,” said Wilhite. “You can take your pick.”
His job is to find them.
CBS13 was on a ride along with Wilhite when he spoted a Honda Civic with expired registration tags.
It’s one of the first clues it may have been stolen.
The car was clean, but before he could finish, Wilhite received another call for a stolen vehicle.
Police spotted the car driving through a parking lot, ran the plate and it came back stolen. It’s a scenario that plays out for officer Wilhite at least simes times a day.
“We’ve seen an increase in stolen vehicles in the last few months,” said Wilhite.
Sacramento police says stolen cars are up 30 percent already since the start of the year, especially 90s model Hondas.
“Their locks are easier to bypass,” said Wilhite.
And thieves aren’t using high-tech methods to break in. They’re using homemade tools like spoons.
“[A man] used the end of a spoon and a file, filed that little notch into the spoon and opened up two vehicles,” said Wilhite.
But at a time when the crime is going up, the number of officers like Wilhite, to do the job, is going down due to budget cuts. Wilhite juggles patrol calls with this detail, along with only one other officer.
And it’s a job that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.