Can I Report a Car Stolen if I Know Who Has It?

Can I Report a Car Stolen if I Know Who Has It

You can decide to allow another person to use your car for a period of time before returning, while another can be in possession of your car without your consent but you are aware of who has it.

If after the stipulated time, the person refuses to return the car after all your attempts to get it back, what can you do? Can I report a car stolen if I know who has it?

Yes, you can report a car stolen if you know who has it, especially if the person refuses to return the car. However, you may not be able to do so immediately. 

Can I Report a Car Stolen If I Know Who Has It?

A car can be reported stolen even if you know who has it. However, before you can declare the car stolen in this kind of situation there are certain conditions that you must fulfill.

If you know who has it, there are ways this could have happened, either you allowed the person to drive it for a period of time and it wasn’t returned within the stipulated time or the person is using the car without your permission.

Whatever the case may be, you should know that only the person that registered the car can report it missing or stolen.

If for example, you were living with your boyfriend and apparently you guys had an argument or broke up and he left with your car and has refused to return it.

You can, however, report the car stolen even if you know who has it; as long as you have waited for a long time for him to return the car and he refuses to return the car, you can report it missing.

What Happens if I Report a Car Stolen if I Know Who Has It?

Reporting a car stolen may be your best option, especially in a case where a person took your car for use without your permission.

If while the person is driving your car, he breaks a law or gets involved in other unlawful acts, you will be the one held responsible because the car is registered in your name.

Reporting your car stolen means the person will no longer have to deal with you but the law enforcement agent. So many factors will be considered in resolving the issue such as; how the person came to be in possession of the car (with your permission or not) and others related.

Upon reporting, the person with the car may be convicted of Grand Theft Auto, however, there are lesser convictions within this category.

The defense against this conviction will be whether (a) the owner gave his/her content to the taking or (b) the car owner will not be permanently deprived of the car by the defendant

If in the process of recovering the car, the police find out that the person that took it has the intention of returning the car, less severe actions will be taken. The offense may be reduced to temporary joyriding with less penalty.

However, if the car was taken with the owner’s consent, the police will want to know why you decide to report the car stolen and the steps you have personally taken to recover the car.

Another instance of this may be if a person has your car but is using it for unauthorized purposes and has also refused to return it. This is also not considered Grand Theft Auto but Unauthorized Use of the Car.

What to Do If Someone I Know Refuses to Release My Car?

If someone you know has refused to release your car after so many attempts from your end to get it back, then your last resort will be to Report to the Police that your car has been stolen. This may look like an extreme measure to take since you probably know the person in possession of your car.

To report to the police department, you should do the following;

  • In presenting your case to the police, you must have proof that the car truly belongs to you therefore, you will need your VIN, the license plate number and the car title.
  • Only a registered car owner can file a stolen car report, and if for whatever reason you do not know the Vehicle Identification Number you can always get it from your insurance company.
  • There may be need to declare the items in the car if there was any at the time the person took it. This may not be necessary if you cleared out your car before you gave it out for use.

In some states, if you are reporting to the police you will be made to sign a document that you are the car legally belongs to you and that you will give your cooperation if there is a need to prosecute the person in possession of your car.

Can I Report a Car Stolen If I Let Someone Borrow It?

One can definitely report a car stolen if you let someone borrow it. However, reporting a car stolen is not as straightforward as it seems.

If the person you borrowed fails to return the car as agreed, you can’t immediately proceed to report it stolen. Before reporting, you must have done your due diligence in trying to get it back.

You should follow the following process in trying to get it back;

  • Send written notification to the person. The notification will state that the person is no longer permitted to drive your car. Depending on the agreement you both had when the car was borrowed and whether a document was signed, there may be no need for this notification.
  • In the letter, the car details should be mentioned and be specific with the details such as; the car’s name, model, year of production, VIN number, license plate, etc. You shouldn’t tell the person to return it to you, rather, the state where you want the car parked with the location. This will help you easily locate and recover your car.
  • You should put a deadline for when you want the car returned and also state that failure to adhere to this will prompt you to report the car as stolen.
  • The notification letter should be mailed to the recipient with a return receipt. A return receipt will serve as an indicator that your letter has been received.
  • If within 10 days in some cases the recipient does not do as you have said in the mail then you can proceed to report the car stolen.

In the event that you are not really sure about how to go about writing the notification letter, some police departments provide forms that will serve as a template for this purpose.


You should know that reporting a car stolen is not as easy as it may seem, there are procedures to be followed and documents required not forgetting that you have a part to play before reporting. Also depending on your state of residence, the procedure may be less stressful or not.