Monday, February 25, 2008

License to Steal

About a month ago my mom noticed that her front license plate was missing. We were uncertain if it fell off or was stolen. She called the police to report it and an officer told her to turn in the remaining plate and get a new one within 48 hours. I took a morning off work to take her to the DMV, and we promptly forgot about the incident, at least until Saturday at 11:30 p.m. when someone pounded on our door. I had unintentionally fallen asleep with Doodle around 10, leaving some lights on downstairs. I went downstairs and asked who was at the door before opening it. The answer: police. I quickly opened the door to find three police officers at the door. They asked if I owned a white Mercedes or knew anyone who did. I answered no in confusion and invited them to come in. They then asked if we had lost a license plate recently and if we had reported it. I answered affirmatively to both questions.

The exchange following the next question freaked me out a bit: they asked what kind of car had the previously missing plate. In my half awake state, I answered Subaru Outback (my car, not my mom's). They asked if it was the one parked in the garage. Yes, I answered tentatively, a bit surprised to learn that they had peered into our garage (which has a glass window). My mom had emerged by then and corrected me about which car was involved. She had been asleep longer than me, but she must get awake a bit faster. They then told me that the plate had been found on an unregistered, assumed to be stolen Mercedes less than a mile from our house. I think that they thought we were connected to the theft, and they were ready to make their arrest. They quickly realized that their case wasn't going to be such an easy one, apologized for disturbing us so late, and left. It's hard to believe that this was such an important case that they couldn't wait until morning to come calling. I'm also surprised that someone would steal just one of two tags, thinking that they could get away with just having one plate and that we wouldn't notice it or report it. The police told me that it happens all the time.

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