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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Police Bureau Policy Relating to Auto Theft


Policy Relating to Auto Theft


Policy (630.61)

It is the policy of the Portland Police Bureau to recover stolen vehicles taken through criminal activity and to refrain from exercising authority in situations involving vehicles taken in civil disputes.


Procedure (630.61)

Proof of Ownership

In order to accept a report on a stolen car, members will conduct a preliminary investigation. As part of that investigation ownership must be established. One or more of the following may establish proof of ownership:

(a) The complainant is the registered owner (per any DMV) which is substantiated

by personal identification. Telephone reports may be accepted if the complainant can satisfactorily assure the reporting officer that he/she

is the registered owner via corroborating sources (i.e., familiarity with vehicle, type, make, names of other registered owners, idiosyncrasies).

(b) The complainant provides documents from DMV indicating process of transfer of title.

(c) The complainant has possession of a title signed for transfer.

(d) The complainant has possession of a bill of sale from a licensed car dealer on letterhead, dated within the last 60 days.

(e) The complainant has possession of a notarized bill of sale, for a private sale, dated within the last 60 days.

(f) In the event the registered owner has left the vehicle in possession of a second party (i.e., storage facility), and a third party (not associated with the owner and/or the party from whom the vehicle was taken) steals the vehicle, a Stolen Vehicle Report should be taken. The registered owner and the person the vehicle was stolen from should be available for signing a report. If both parties are not available to sign the report, no stolen report will be accepted. If only one party is available to sign the report, the officer may take a locate report if authorized by a detective or ATTF sergeant (i.e., the owner is unavailable, out of town, out of the country etc.) or a supervisory sergeant if detectives are unavailable.

(g) If the person reporting the vehicle as stolen had possession under a rental/ lease agreement, the reporting person must present the valid rental/lease agreement or telephone verification by the rental company.

(h) The complainant is the owner of rented or leased vehicle and has completed the requirements set forth in ORS 164.140 (demand letter, 10 or 45 day

waiting period, etc).

(i) In situations that do not meet the previous criteria, officers must contact a detective or ATTF sergeant for authorization to accept a report of a stolen

vehicle. If unable to contact a detective or ATTF (i.e., after hours), officers must obtain approval of a supervisory sergeant. The person authorizing

the report shall be documented in the report.

Denial of Report (630.61)

A stolen report will not be accepted in civil disputes under the following circumstances:

(a) Husband/wife are complainant.

(b) Divorce in progress.

(c) Divorce completed with court ordered division of property.

(d) Boyfriend/girlfriend, domestic partner, roommate, family member or juvenile children of complainant. After 48 hours, a detective or ATTF

sergeant may authorize that a report be taken.

(e) Business partners or associates.

(f) Vehicle is held by person(s) performing work on the vehicle (mechanic's lien).

(g) Vehicle in possession of co-signer on contract of purchase.

(h) Vehicle taken from a tow company or mechanic's garage, unless the vehicle owner is complainant.

(i) Vehicle purchased with a non-sufficient fund (NSF) check.

(j) The vehicle is rented or leased, without fraud, and requirements set forth in ORS 164.140 have not been completed.

(k) New or used car test drive unless twenty-four (24) hours have elapsed from the time the vehicle should have been returned.

(l) Stored vehicles, private property or storage facility, for which both parties cannot confirm theft.

(m) The complainant is unwilling to prosecute.

(n) The theft is a result of illegal activities such as drug transaction without mitigating circumstances (i.e., carjacking, armed robbery, etc.).

(o) Commercial or private sale of vehicle, for which partial payment has been made. A detective or ATTF sergeant must authorize a report in unusual cases, with extraordinary circumstances. Notation of authorizing person will be made in the report.

Most commonly used auto theft Oregon Revised Statues


164.135 Unauthorized use of a vehicle.


(1) A person commits the crime of unauthorized use of a vehicle when:

(a) The person takes, operates, exercises control over, rides in or otherwise uses another's vehicle, boat or aircraft without consent of the owner; or

(b) Having custody of a vehicle, boat or aircraft pursuant to an agreement between the person or another and the owner thereof whereby the person or another is to perform for compensation a specific service for the owner involving the maintenance, repair or use of such vehicle, boat or aircraft, the person intentionally uses or operates it, without consent of the owner, for the person's own purpose in a manner constituting a gross deviation from the agreed purpose; or

(c) Having custody of a vehicle, boat or aircraft pursuant to an agreement with the owner thereof whereby such vehicle, boat or aircraft is to be returned to the owner at a specified time, the person knowingly retains or withholds possession thereof without consent of the owner for so lengthy a period beyond the specified time as to render such retention or possession a gross deviation from the agreement.

(2) Unauthorized use of a vehicle, boat or aircraft is a Class C felony.

(3) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to a person who rides in or otherwise uses a public transit vehicle, as defined in ORS 166.116, if the vehicle is being operated by an authorized operator within the scope of the operator's employment. [1971 c.743 §134; 2001 c.851 §1]


819.300 Possession of a stolen vehicle; penalty.


(1) A person commits the offense of possession of a stolen vehicle if the person possesses any vehicle which the person knows or has reason to believe has been stolen.


(2) The offense described in this section, possession of a stolen vehicle, is a Class C felony. [1983 c.338 §297]