Carson City Sheriff's investigators have focused on possible suspects in a rash of nearly two dozen vehicle burglaries this month where insurance and registration papers were the target.
Vehicles mostly in northeastern Carson City with some west of Carson Street have fallen victim to break-ins for automotive documents, Chief Deputy Scott Burau said.
"In the past week to 10 days, we have at least a dozen and up to 20 car burglaries," Burau said. "One of the common denominators seems to be registration and insurance papers, but it's not necessarily only that."
Suspects have also lifted stereos and jewelry once already in the car. Burau estimates about three-fourths of the burgled vehicles were not locked.
Burau said these vehicle burglaries seem to be part of a document laundering operation.
"The supposition is you can 'wash' the (registration and insurance) or fraudulently alter them so that in the event you are stopped on a routine traffic stop you'd be able to produce insurance," Burau said.
"We're not treating this as run-of-the-mill business. We are taking an active interest."
Burau said investigators have focused on a group of people but no suspects have been arrested.
There seems to be no pattern of type or age of vehicle hit, but most of the burgled vehicles are parked by the victim's residence with the burglary detected in the morning.
He said vehicles seem to be picked more by unlocked doors and visible attractive items than because of model year or type.
"First and foremost, we want people to lock their vehicles," Burau said. "You don't want anything left visible that would entice somebody shaking down a neighborhood."