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Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780

KSP Trooper Wins National Award for License Plate
Observation Leading to Arrest of Felons Wanted for
Seven-State Vehicle Theft Ring

(Frankfort, KY) - Kentucky State Police Trooper Michael Concaugh has won a celebrated award in a national law enforcement program for his observation of a license plate that resulted in the capture of a husband and wife team, operators of a seven-state vehicle theft ring.

In selecting Trooper Michael Concaugh for the Meritorious Achievement Award, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Highway Safety Committee commended the Kentucky State Police Trooper on his diligent and deductive police work that led to the apprehension of the criminals and the solution of the many previously unlinked vehicle thefts.

The Meritorious Achievement Award will be presented to Trooper Concaugh on Thursday, June 5, at 12:45 PM, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 320 West Jefferson Street, Louisville, Kentucky; Information: Kentucky State Police: 502/782-2010 by Earl Sweeney, Chairman of the IACP Highway Safety Committee and Director of the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council.

In January last year, Trooper Concaugh was called to investigate a vehicle theft in rural Warren County. Upon his arrival, Trooper Concaugh noted several vehicles in the parking lot of the business that had reported the theft. He noticed a vehicle with a West Virginia license plate, and since it was the only out-of-state license plate, he was curious why it was in the parking lot. He ran a check on the tag and the vehicle. Trooper Concaugh later stated he rarely sees West Virginia license plates except on interstate 65.

Both the vehicle and the license plate were stolen. Trooper Concaugh determined the car with the West Virginia license plate had been abandoned as the thieves stole another vehicle from the business parking lot. He subsequently conducted a thorough investigation and discovered the seven-state car theft ring was operated by a man and his wife - now both in prison - who had escaped notice by national authorities since the thefts were handled as singular incidents by local authorities.

As a result of Trooper Concaugh's police work, the male leader of the ring was apprehended in Pennsylvania while driving a stolen vehicle and was extradited to Kentucky as a parole violator. Trooper Concaugh's investigation continued into the spring and he obtained a tape-recorded confession from the woman suspect, thus ensuring a successful conclusion of the case and convictions of the felons.

The award is part of the national Looking Beyond the License Plate award program designed to recognize law enforcement officers whose alertness and keen observation leads to the arrest of a suspect or the solution of a crime. An estimated 70 percent of all serious crime involves a motor vehicle, and law enforcement agencies nationwide acknowledge front and rear license plates are critical, cost-effective crime-fighting tools used to identify and track offenders. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) estimates more than a third of criminal arrests result from traffic stops.

In announcing the Meritorious Achievement award winner in the national program, IACP Highway Safety Committee Chairman Earl M. Sweeney noted, "License plates are the surest and quickest way for law enforcement officers and citizens to identify a vehicle. We also know license plates play an important role in police work and in national security. While the Looking Beyond The License Plate program substantiates and documents the importance of license plates as law enforcement tools, it also validates and promotes the dedication and initiative of officers whose daily efforts ensure the effectiveness of our nation's law enforcement system. The actions and keen observation by Kentucky State Police Trooper Concaugh are examples of how simple, careful law enforcement tools and intelligent tactics can safeguard every law abiding citizen."

Looking Beyond the License Plate is open to all law enforcement officers and is sponsored by the 3M Traffic Control Materials Division in cooperation with the IACP Highway Safety Committee. The 2002 campaign attracted 242 entries from submitted by law enforcement officers throughout North America.

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