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AURORA, Colo. — Thieves are busy in the Denver metro area targeting people with new registration stickers on their license plates.

Victims told the FOX31 Problem Solvers the perpetrators are finding a creative way to get the sticker.

The stickers are not easy to peel off, and depending on the screws that are used, it might be too difficult to take the entire plate. More people are reporting tools such as metal shears are being used to get the job done.

Not long after Kori Smith of Aurora renewed her license plates, she saw a chunk of metal missing. Her renewal sticker was gone — along with a piece of her license plate.

“I have work, I have kids,” Smith said. “I was supposed to get up, take them to school this morning and we didn’t get to do anything.”

The working single mom of four said she needs her car. But instead she is facing a new headache and additional DMV fees.

“This is my car,” she said. “I paid for it. I worked for it and the crooks win.”

Smith thought a missing renewal sticker was all she had to worry about until her homeowners’ association got involved.

Smith said when HOA officials learned something was wrong, they checked it out. HOA leaders said Smith was in violation of HOA policy and they put a boot on the vehicle.

“I’m a victim twice now, absolutely,” Smith said.

Shortly after calling the HOA, the Problem Solvers were promised the boot would be removed at no cost, saving Smith nearly $200.

The Aurora Police Department is investigating the theft. One of Smith’s neighbors at the Aurora complex near Chambers Road and Iliff Avenue said the same thing happened to him.

Using a clear plastic covering plate holder will help deter thieves. State law requires plastic coverings to truly be clear so the plate numbers and letters are still visible.