General Question

Emmy1234's avatar

My father died and the person I sold the bike to stole his license plate. What can I do?

Asked by Emmy1234 (878points) June 2nd, 2014

So my father passed away 2 years ago and we just recently sold his bike to a former teacher of mine. When he got the bike I forgot to get Dad’s license plate off of it. I told the buyer I needed it back and he told me he would bring it in a couple of days. 1½ weeks has gone by. I saw him in town and asked him again and he said he would bring it in a couple of days again. The plate does not have to be returned to the state of Tennessee but I don’t want someone having a plate that was my father’s. I sold the bike to him for far less than it was worth and waited 11/2months for him to have the funds to buy it. I have been overly kind to the buyer. What should I do? Do I call the police and tell them the situation? He told me the second time I asked about it that it was in the garage of his friend’s.

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23 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Offer cash to grease the wheels.

Emmy1234's avatar

Burns my butt…I guess I could. He is a shady character anyway. I should have known better.

Emmy1234's avatar

I’ll offer him cash when he brings it I’ll snatch the plate and take off with my money!

jca's avatar

I would tell him that you don’t want to have to report it to the police. Then see what happens.

Emmy1234's avatar

@jca- If I report it to them will they do anything?

jca's avatar

I don’t know. You can ask them anonymously. You can always go to the station house and have a discussion with the police. Sometimes the cops will intervene without anybody getting arrested – they’ll just go to the guy’s house and have a discussion with him. It depends on the police, how busy they are, and what they think of you.

Seek's avatar

You don’t have to report it to the police. Simply call the Tax Collector’s office and cancel the registration. Next time a cop pulls up behind the guy they’ll run the plates and know it’s a cancelled tag.

Up to you whether to warn him ahead of time.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Relax. Call the your county clerks’ office and nullify the plate number. At this point your responsibility ceases. My buddy tells me that plates are dealt with at the County Clerk’s Office in Tenn.

jca's avatar

My impression from what the OP wrote was that the plate is not good any more anyway, as a license plate, that is. I thought it was more sentimental value. She said the plate does not have to be returned to the state, which gave me the impression that it was not for a currently registered vehicle.

Seek's avatar

Well, you don’t really have to return the plate because, well, what are they going to do, suspend her dad’s license?

I’m thinking in terms of Florida laws, of course. Your mileage may vary.

janbb's avatar

Yes – I had the impression that it was for sentimental reasons too. Is it possible that he’s just lazy? How about contacting him and saying you will be over there with a (big, burly) friend at such and such a time to get it back.

Pandora's avatar

Show up at his house with someone else and if you see the bike with the plate on it, knock on his door and ask for it back. At the very least, if he doesn’t then let him know that you will let DMV know that he is driving the bike with an expired plate that belonged to your deceased dad.
Don’t see why it would still be on the bike. Did he not register it? That seems fishy.
Oh, you may not need to turn it in, but I would think that you may have to let DMV know that your dad is deceased, so that no one can pretend to be your dad.

jca's avatar

Another idea, similar to @janbb,‘s is not to tell him you’re going to arrive with (big burly guy) but just show up. Hey, me and Big Burly Man were in the neighborhood. I am here to get my license plate!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You don’t really need to worry about this, it’s not your plate, it’s out of date. It’s just a chunk of metal now.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, he didn’t steal the plate, as you sold him the bike with the plate attached. The police will not become involved in that regard, but if you could find a sympathetic cop he might keep an eye out for the guy/bike and ticket him for lack of proper licensing.

Please let us know why you want the plate?

The reality may be that ”shady character” took your dad’s far underpriced bike and re-sold it to a ‘friend’ who now has it in their garage. The plate might be history already.

filmfann's avatar

The shady character is your former teacher?
I would start with this advice: “Calm the fuck down.”
You have been kind, but it doesn’t sound like you have been overly kind.
Tell him you need the plate ASAP. If he doesn’t retun it, call the police. It may be that he has claim to the plate, or is required to return it to the DMV.

kritiper's avatar

Report the plate stolen.

Emmy1234's avatar

@filmfann- Yes I’ve been overly kind. I sold a bike that books for $5300 for $2500. I think thats overly kind. I waited and turned down other offers on the bike b/c he didn’t have the money immediately. I’d like to have it for sentimental purposes too. I have the ones from his car and truck and I want the one from the bike too. @ibstubro- He did steal it. The plate is not his it was my Dad’s. He agreed to return it and has not done so.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: Why would the purchaser of the bike be required to return the plate to the DMV? The plate itself and whoever it was registered to at the time it was in use is of no concern to the bike’‘s buyer.

ibstubro's avatar

I do not believe the plate was stolen in the eyes of the law, and I do not believe reporting it as stolen is a valid option.

I once bought a used vehicle so a friend could get back and forth to work. One day they disappeared and it turned out they had used the car to move ½ way across the country. When I reported it, the police told me that if they were driving the vehicle with my permission, it didn’t legally make any difference who’s name the car was in and where it was.

My guess is still that he’s re-sold the bike. The delay in coming up with the payment was probably the time it took for him to find a higher, cash, buyer.

Emmy1234's avatar

Problem solved! The license plate was finally returned last night at 11pm.

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