Someone stole my car and fraudulently registered it. She is someone I let borrow the car, who then stole the title. Also, car was registered without insurance. This is all public record. I bought the car in 2018, let her borrow it, she stole in 2019 and registered without insurance and then added insurance a few days later.

Police are saying it's a civil issue and refusing to do anything about this obvious fraud. Her pimp is apparently in jail for something else now but police have not taken any action on the car.

Is there some legal reason police are not doing their job or do they just not care? If I find the car in a public place can I just break into it and drive off?

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    In which country are we here? In Britain it is impossible to register a car without insurance - one has to show proof of insurance cover. However (still in UK) registration is not proof of title. The "registered keeper" is not necessarily the owner. A car could, and often does, belong to a finance company, while registered in the name of the person who has the right to keep and use it. – WS2 Jun 28 '20 at 19:26
  • It was fraud and utterly ridiculous – user31975 Jun 28 '20 at 21:34

If I find the car in a public place can I just break into it and drive off?

That would not be anywhere near registering the title in your name.

Whoever processes title registrations is presumed to conduct all necessary checks to establish that the new owner is legitimate. Unlike driving off someone's car without their authorization, registering a car title in your name constitutes no apparent crime elements for the police to act on.

Your recourse would be to prove that the title should not have been transferred, for which you would indeed have to file a civil claim. Once you have a civil court decision identifying why the title transfer went ahead whereas it should not have, that could possibly open up avenues for criminal investigation.

  • It is childishly obviously fraudulent, it was registered without insurance, I am just asking why they are so obstinate. – user31975 Jun 28 '20 at 16:14
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    @Dan The question suggests you loaned her the car and that significant time passed between her re-registering it and you reporting her behavior to the police. The voluntary transfer of possession and apparent delay in complaining about it makes your claim less compelling from a criminal law perspective. – DavidSupportsMonica Jun 28 '20 at 16:42
  • I called police immediately they just gave a runaround and did nothing – user31975 Jun 28 '20 at 21:34
  • @Greendrake Frequently a finance company owns a car and leases it to someone who becomes the registered keeper. The company can repossess the car at any time, simply by seizing it, if for example the lessee defaults on payments. That is irrespective of whoever is the registered keeper. At least that is the position in Britain. I note you are in New Zealand. However where someone has informally lent the car to someone, and no lease agreement exists, it may well be difficult to prove ownership. – WS2 Jun 29 '20 at 11:32

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