Can I report my car stolen even though it’s not registered in my name?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I report my car stolen even though it’s not registered in my name?

I did a favor for my stepmom in NV and drove a friend of the family out to the central coast of CA for what I thought was just a doctor’s appointment. However, I’ve come to find out it was to pick up his really rude girlfriend as well. Then I came to find out they were expecting me to bring them back to NV as well, even though I made it clear that I was not planning on going back there anytime soon. Anyway, this guy took my car keys last night while I was asleep and took my car and has not returned nor answered any of my calls or texts. So now I’m seriously considering reporting my car stolen but then the problem is that my car is registered in my fiance’s name and he is currently in prison. Can I report the car stolen and, if I do, will I get it back? What will happen?

Asked on July 14, 2018 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can report that it is stolen: anyone may report a crime if they witness one, and that is what you are here--a witness (so to speak, even though you did not literally see this person take the keys) to a crime. However, since it is NOT your car--it is registerted to your finance, so it is *his* car legally--it will not be returned to you. It will presumably be returned to whatever address is it registered to.

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