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The City of Portland, Oregon

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

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0630.61 Stolen Vehicles

*This directive is currently under review*



  • Oregon Vehicle Code
  • Criminal Code of Oregon: Chapters 131, 164
  • City Code City of Portland
  • DIR 630.60 Vehicle Disposition


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)

Reporting Upon taking a stolen vehicle report, members will immediately call the Auto Records Desk to insure the stolen vehicle is immediately entered into LEDS and NCIC.

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.   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.

g.  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).

h.  In situations that do not meet the previous criteria, officers must contact a detective or sergeant for authorization to accept a report of a stolen vehicle. If unable to contact a detective or sergeant (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 is 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 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 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 sergeant must authorize a report in unusual cases, with extraordinary circumstances. Notation of authorizing person will be made in the report.

Fraud (630.61)

a.  Members may investigate:

1.  Fraud involving a title that has changed parties.

2.  DMV requests to investigate a title to a vehicle that is being registered and is listed as stolen.

3.  Fraudulently purchased vehicles.

b.  An Incident/Worthless Document report will be taken by an officer if:

1.  The vehicle was obtained using a NSF, account closed, forged, altered, counterfeit check, security, money order or instrument.

2.  The vehicle was obtained through identity theft. The vehicle will be recorded as evidence with a full description including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

3.  Vehicles taken as the result of fraud will be listed as Felony Vehicle in LEDS/NCIC unless a stolen report is authorized by a detective.

Recovering Stolen Vehicles (630.61)

a.  All vehicles to be recovered as stolen must be confirmed by VIN and the LEDS/NCIC entry.

b.  Recovered stolen vehicles will be towed for safekeeping, pending owner notification, unless the owner is present at the time of recovery. At the officer’s discretion, if the owner is available and can respond within a short time (30 minutes) to recover the vehicle, the vehicle may be released to the owner. Officers will standby until the tow or owner arrives.

c.  The vehicle may be released to the registered owner following receipt of the owner’s signature, address, and phone number on the incident report. The releasing officer will immediately notify Records Division/Auto Records when a vehicle is towed or released in order to remove the vehicle from LEDS/NCIC stolen file.