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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up an '89 Trooper last week for parts, but the body is so nice, I'm considering putting it back on the road. I can go through the bonding process with NC DMV, but my inspector said it would be way easier and cheaper if I could locate the previous registered owner and get a VA title. NC has a title search available to NC motor vehicle dealers. Does anyone know of a way of determining the last registered owner in VA? Thanks for any help.
Mike
 

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I have a buddy who used to be a Police dispatcher in NC. He told me that they can look up a titled owner by the VIN... even for vehicles in other states. I also have a buddy who does a TV show that is recorded in Tennessee. He is always buying vehicles from the junk yard to build up on the show. He said that he gets titles by going to the DMV, where they search the VIN for reports of theft. If there has been no reported theft, they issue the vehicle a new VIN and send a uniformed officer to the shop to place a sticker on the vehicle with the new VIN info on it. I don't know what it costs him to do that, but it is a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
According to my DMV(NC) Inspector, they can do a 50 state VIN search to make sure it's not stolen, but can't identify the registered owners if it's titled in a state other than NC(or can but won't if it's a privacy issue?) What I'm needing is a way to get a name and address so I can contact the registered owner to see if he/she will transfer the title over to me. I know a private investigator that says he can get it, but I don't know what that'll end up costing. Just because I get a name and address doesn't mean that I'll be able to reach the owner, either. If I can't reach them, that'll be $$$ down the tube. I guess I'm just being frugal(well, OK, Cheap!)
 

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I totally get it. I don't like to spend money on a gamble either. hiring a private eye can quickly add up to more than the vehicle is even worth. A couple of other ideas... I found a place online (I can't remember now what it was, I just used google) that claims they can get you a title for any car. That may be one thing to try. the other thing is that in the state of Alabama, they don't require a title at all to transfer ownership of a vehicle that is 10 years old or older. you walk in to the tag office with a bill of sale and you get to register it into your name. you WILL get a title for it that you can then transfer to NC. If you go to Alabama, get a PO box, apply for the title, go back to the Post office and have your mail forwarded to your home address and then let it expire in 6 months. That way, you only have to go to Alabama once.

Before you do anything, make sure to verify that I am correct before you spend a lot of time and money on my ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Had a nice long chat with my DMV inspector yesterday. He did some looking and came up with a way to possibly title it. Being that it came in from another state, I can apply for an "inoperable" title, after I bond it. Then, after I get it running and able to pass a state inspection(the annual one here), I can apply for an "operable" title. This process would only work if: it's not stolen, is not a total loss claim, or doesn't have a salvage title in it's home state. Man, it sure would be easier if I could locate the last owner and get him to transfer it to me. May end up being a parts truck after all. I've got a decision to make.
 

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What I would do, here in Washington state...

Park the vehicle on my own property. Preferably somewhere accessable and viewable from the road, but not with a totally unobstructed view from the road. So anyone driving by can see it, but probably wouldn't notice it.

Go to the tabs place. (Where you get plates, tabs, registration, title, etc..) And get a "junk vehicle report". Or "Abandoned vehicle report".

Call the local cops and ask them to come out and do the junk vehicle report. (Here, you need to have gone and gotten the form, yourself, but the cop is the one to fill it out.) When the cops get there, tell them the vehicle was abandoned there 6 months or more, before.

A white lie, if you know the vehicle has been sitting around somewhere else, abandoned for that long. The point is that the vehicle has been sitting somewhere for that long. The cop doesn't care if it was sitting fifteen feet further away, or fifteen miles further away. It was abandoned.

When the cop fills the form out, s/he will put in the last known owner's name and address, in the proper space.

Soon as the report is filled out, you copy it at kinko's or wherever. Then send a copy of it to the previous owner's address, as it appears on the form. Send it registered. Required signature to accept. (Note, you are not responsible for making sure that the previous owner still lives at that address. If they don't, well you did what the law required...)

Wait 15 days. If the previous owner doesn't get back to you, then take your report back to the tabs place.

They will notarize and sign the form for you.

At that point, you "own" the vehicle. You can sell it, scrap it, or whatever.

If you decide to fix it and drive it, then you have to take it to be inspected by the state police. After it passes inspection, the tabs place will sell you plates, tabs, registration, and issue a sort of title.

That 'sort of title' means that for three years, the previous owner can still claim the vehicle. But only if they had filed a stolen vehicle report before you filed the junk vehicle report.

That last bit is kind of oxymoronish. When the cop comes out to do the junk vehicle report, the first thing he does after getting the VIN, is to check for stolen vehicle reports. And it doesn't matter where the vehicle is registered, nor where you are... a previous stolen vehicle report will show up, when the cop checks. So, once s/he has filled out the form and handed it back to you, you already know there have been no stolen vehicle reports.

This all sounds more complicated than it really is. It's really very simple. The most difficult part is waiting for the cop to get to your house to do the report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input. I haven't looked into NC's policy on abandoned vehicles, but it's too late in this case as my Inspector knows I've already got it. I deal with him on a regular basis(he just told me I'm due for my annual audit). Being that he could jerk my license in a heartbeat, I feel honesty is the best policy! Besides, I'm not a good liar....I have trouble remembering who I told which lie to!<bfg> But that info might be useful in the future, particularly for someone that doesn't have business dealings with the DMV.
 
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