The other day we were pulled over by the police. Usually, you know if you are speeding or did something illegal, but this time we had no idea what was going on. We did know it was something serious by the way the officers were acting. What happened is something we never would have thought of in a million years, but something we will forever be on alert for from this moment forward. Let me tell you the story from the beginning.
Many, Many Months Ago
Sometime last year, we had noticed that someone had tried to take off my license plate. We had been in a mall, and when we came out we noticed that they had tried to get the license plate off but hadn’t succeeded. It was mostly still screwed in, even though it was bent.
We celebrated the fact that they didn’t get the license plate, went home, and my husband tightened up the screws and the plate.
Neither one of us can remember what month that was. It could have been anywhere between January to September.
A Few Months Ago
At the end of last year, I noticed that the plate looked a little more bent than usual. I also noticed that one of the screws had come out, so I figured that maybe the plate had bent in the wind?
The thought crossed my mind that someone else had tried to take it off, but somehow it seemed more logical that the wind had bent it because the screws were coming out and, of course, we still had a license plate on my van.
If they had succeeded in taking it, there would be no license plate, right?
My husband secured it back in and we didn’t think about it again.
We were driving my van home after having lunch out. My husband was driving, and we were driving on a road we had never taken before.
Suddenly we saw the police lights behind us and my husband pulled over. We hadn’t been speeding or doing anything wrong. I had no idea why they would be pulling us over.
My husband is always tense around police or security, which makes him look guilty of something. He’s Italian, and while he looks Italian to me, he also looks Arab, so he often gets extra attention no matter where we are. I wish that wasn’t still the case in this world, but it is. He’s the guy that always gets pulled over in airport security to be ‘randomly’ checked out further.
My husband noted that the police officer was coming up on the passenger side of the van, which was weird. But then we noticed that there was also one coming up on the driver side as well. They were moving very slowly, looking the van over, and seemed very suspicious of us. That just made my husband more tense and worried. And, worse, the window is not working on the driver’s side of the van so my husband had to open the door, which the officer didn’t like.
The officer on the driver’s side asked us if this was our van. I told him it was mine. He looked suspicious and took a look around in the van.
Then he asked us if we knew why we were being pulled over. We shook our heads no. He told us that we had a stolen license plate on the van.
I was shocked! I instantly knew that the person who had tried to get my license plate off so long ago had probably succeeded, and we were dumb enough not to notice that it wasn’t the van’s license plate. But, I wasn’t totally sure if they had got it off at the mall or the second time I noticed it was bent. Moreover, I wasn’t sure if it had been switched a few times throughout the past year based on what had happened.
I tried to explain all this to the officer and I know I sounded ridiculous. He asked me if I knew my license plate number, and I admitted I didn’t.
He didn’t seem convinced that my story was true. I mean, how could I not know that the license plate on my van wasn’t mine? It even sounded ridiculous to me.
He went back to his car and about 5 minutes later came back. He got my husband’s driver’s license and went back to his car again.
They spent some time in their car going over things. After about 10 minutes he finally came back and was convinced that we were clueless morons who didn’t know the license plate number of our own van. He told us where the license plate on my van had been stolen from and suggested we go get a new license plate immediately and make a police report in our town.
Know Your License Plate Number
I was just as embarrassed to make a police report because I had to admit that I had no idea when my license plate had actually been stolen because I didn’t know my license plate number. The officer told me that if I received a ticket in the mail, I would need to go down and show my police report to get the ticket canceled.
I was grateful that we hadn’t gotten any tickets from my stolen license plate. Who knows what these people are using my license plate for?
We got a new license plate and memorized the number within a minute using some Superbrain tricks, and I will forever be checking to make sure that I have the right license plate on any vehicle I’m driving.
Do you know your license plate number? If not, make sure it matches your registration and memorize it now.