Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is touting a new tool to help fight auto thefts in Michigan. Her office is now participating in a national motor vehicle title database that was created to prevent thefts and protect consumers from title fraud. Michigan has joined Texas and Illinois as the latest states to use the system, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The database now includes all Great Lakes states and 96 percent of all vehicles nationwide. The six remaining nonparticipating states plus the District of Columbia are expected to join eventually. Johnson says too often in the past, Michigan residents bought used vehicles they thought were free of major damage only to discover later the vehicle had been wrecked out of state. Michigan now submits new vehicle title information to the national database and has contributed its entire title history database.