What would be a plausible explanation of Heisenberg being able to drive from his last known location by the police in New Hampshire to New Mexico, in a stolen car, without getting caught?

  • Doesn't seem implausible at all to me.
    – sanpaco
    Sep 14, 2020 at 4:06
  • @sanpaco: Despite the warnings of Ed the hoover guy?
    – Vectorizer
    Sep 14, 2020 at 7:20
  • All of Ed's advice was based on the assumption that he was staying put, not heading on a suicide mission
    – sanpaco
    Sep 14, 2020 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


Well, Google says the trip from Central New Hampshire to Central New Mexico should take 2,200 miles. Having made the drive from Texas to New Mexico and the drive from Texas to Michigan, I can tell you that it is possible to make that part of the trip at least while remaining outside of any major city.

While car theft is still a felony crime, it is not considered a major crime involving violence or danger to life or limb. An all points bulletin type of alert will not be put out to all US law enforcement agencies for a stolen vehicle unless death, bodily injury, or kidnapping of the victim is involved. Only law enforcement agencies in the local area of the theft will be on the look out for the stolen vehicle. Otherwise, only electronic and video surveillance will pick up the trail of the vehicle. Something very lacking outside of major cities. An older vehicle may even lack the equipment necessary for satellite tracking.

If the person who stole the vehicle is known, an alert will be out for them as well. But, their capture will be contingent on the person leaving an electronic or video trail. So, no credit cards, cell phones, toll roads, internet access, phone calls to known associates, etc. Something much easier to do when you are sticking to backroads and rural areas. Even staying on the interstates, but staying out of major cities may keep you off of the grid.

As far as the logistics of the trip, with as little as 5 tankfulls of gas, you can make the trip in most cars. A conservative estimate of $30-80 a tankfull, would equate to less than a $500 budget for the trip, to including food, water, coffee, oil, and any other ancillary expense. It would have to all be in cash to avoid leaving a “paper trail”.

Only luck (good luck for the vehicles owner or bad luck for the thief) may derail their trip. If the driver is pulled over by the police for a traffic violation, the vehicle will ping as stolen. If the vehicle has any obvious deficiencies, it might be pulled over. If a police cruiser with an automatic license plate scanner/reader happens to get near the stolen car, then it is game over. Most of the danger of this happening will be either in big cities, or well traveled interstates patrolled by state highway patrol officers. But even state troopers will be few and far between in rural areas and backroads.

  • In Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai there is a scene where Ghost Dog pull to a parked cars and steal their plates. So then even if someone ping the plates the car is showing as stolen. Sep 14, 2020 at 7:54
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY - “So then even if someone ping the plates the car is showing as stolen.“ Did you mean as not stolen? If so, then yes. The car would not register in the system as stolen as long as the owners of the stolen plates don’t report the plates as stolen. The description of the vehicles would have to match, though. If pulled over for a traffic violation, the registration of the vehicle would show the VIN, but not the license number. The police officer would have to be pretty diligent to verify the registration matches the plates. The fact you are not the owner may raise suspicion, also.
    – Dean F.
    Sep 14, 2020 at 10:38
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY - If you are going to try switching plates, switch the plates of the stolen vehicle with a car as similar as possible to the stolen vehicle. Then, switch the plates of the second car with a very similar third car. This shell game may buy you additional time. In some states like Texas, boy the VIN and the plate number are located on a n externally visible windshield sticker inside the car. Police would match all the numbers on the car, then double check it and the insurance in their in-cruiser system against the owner’s drivers license during a traffic stop.
    – Dean F.
    Sep 14, 2020 at 10:47
  • Yeah but they would need to have a good look at those. Which would require them to stop the car. If you don't break traffic rules, the plates don't ping during automatic checks (like in police cars, road checks or similar) you can ride without interruption. I even lately seen a movie on youtube when dude was driving Atom thing with bad VIN, plates from car and cop just left him with a warning. He's excuse "I'm a dealer and I'm in the process of registering it, I took it for a spin after repairs". Sep 14, 2020 at 10:55
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY - The “dealer” in your video got lucky. In Texas, even test driving a car without legitimate or dealer plates, or a paper temp tag registered to the dealership is grounds for a ticket. As far as stolen plates, I agree with your point. But, it only buys time. Eventually, the plates themselves would be registered as stolen. The plate shell game may buy more time. Only count on it for a short term mission. Otherwise, just don’t get pulled over.
    – Dean F.
    Sep 14, 2020 at 14:27

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