The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reports a rise in reported pickup truck thefts occurring over the past several months. Both locked and unlocked Ford F-250 trucks seem to be the vehicle of choice for these thefts. These thefts have been occurring in both business and residential locations. These thefts have also been occurring at varying hours of the day and night.
The Sheriff’s Office offers a crime prevention program known as the C.A.T. Program or Combat Auto Theft Program. The CAT Program is a voluntary vehicle registration program for community residents, short term visitors and business owners. The program is designed to assist law enforcement in identifying vehicles that are not normally driven during the early morning hours. The owner of the vehicle voluntarily registers their vehicle with the Sheriff’s Office. Once registered, they receive a CAT decal to place in the lower left hand corner of the vehicle’s rear window. Personal vehicles will receive a single yellow CAT sticker. Business vehicle owner’s will receive a single yellow CAT sticker and an additional sticker depicting the number “8”.
By displaying the decals, the vehicle owner gives deputies permission to do an investigative stop of the vehicle between the hours of 1:00 am and 5:00 am for personal vehicles and 8:00 pm and 5:00 am for business vehicles, to determine if the vehicle has been stolen. This program in no way restricts vehicle owners from legitimately using their vehicles.
For additional information on this program or to register your vehicles, simply contact our Crime Prevention Unit at 941-639-2101 or bring your vehicle registration documents to any of our District Offices.