PORTSMOUTH -- 'Came back from a store and noticed the rear plate on my truck was completely missing,' said Tony Miller as he took a break from working on his truck in Cradock.

Miller told 13News he'd been removing his license plates to prevent someone from stealing his registration stickers. A few months ago, somebody stripped them off of both plates.

'I'm part of the neighborhood watch, and we're all working to try and stop this stuff,' Miller said.

The truck owner is among several people who've been hit by thieves recently, thieves who target registration stickers or plates. Both of those tend to be popular with people looking to save themselves or others the cost of registration or looking to keep a car out of the registration system.

Besides a spike in thefts of those stickers, police say there has been an increase in the number of inspection stickers stolen from windshields.

'If you think about somebody leaving your vehicle completely unsecured, the windows down, it only takes a few seconds for someone to take a scraper and remove that sticker,' said Detective Jan Clark.

Clark added the heat of summer often leads to more drivers leaving windows open than during other seasons as they try to avoid getting into a stifling car.

Officers are pushing drivers to make sure doors are locked and that windows are up. They also encourage people to secure plates and registration stickers as best possible.

'If you are able to put the four bolts in it, then, that, of course is going to take a thief a lot longer time to get those bolts off of that car and steal your license plate,' Clark said. 'Some of the cars, you can't do that with, but if you have the framed cover that goes over top of it with the two bolts, that's also a good deterrent.'

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