An officer driving a cruiser equipped with license-plate reading technology recovered a stolen vehicle Tuesday, marking the first time the city's yielded such a find.
Officer Kory Jones was patrolling a neighborhood just off South Novato Boulevard when he received an automated signal at about 8 p.m. that a vehicle in the 1200 block of Yukon Way had been stolen July 27 in Alameda County, according to acting Lt. Jennifer Welch. The unoccupied vehicle was recovered and processed for evidence.
No arrests have been made and there are no suspect leads, Welch said.
Novato police have automated license plate reader systems on three of its patrol vehicles. The units cost $10,000 per car, but all the money was secured through grants and from the County of Marin. The ALPR systems have been proven to dramatically increase the efficiency of a single officer looking for stolen vehicles and crime suspects.
With the ALPR system, cameras mounted on a patrol car constantly scan for license plates as they come within view of the camera lens. One a plate is found, the software uses character recognition to translate the letters and numbers on a plate then compares them to several thousand wanted license plates. An alert sounds if the string matches one in the list.