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Two years ago, Victoria Taylor‘s license plates disappeared from her car parked outside her Peabody Street NW home, and over the following months, a Toyota sporting those tags racked up more than $3,000 worth of parking tickets across the city. After a struggle with the city, Taylor finally had those tickets dismissed earlier this year. She thought her battle was over.
But after a short hiatus, Taylor’s stolen tags are back in circulation. These days, evidently, they’re bolted to a “car that looks like a Buick,” she says, that was caught speeding by a traffic camera. That ticket arrived in her mailbox last month.
D.C. police and Department of Motor Vehicles spokespeople say that all of Taylor’s tickets should be written off immediately as long as the tags were reported stolen—which they were, two years ago.
To blame is a lack of communication between the Department of Public Works, which issues parking tickets, the DMV, which handles license plates, and the D.C. police, who take theft reports. “Nobody seems to be able to resolve this situation,” says Doug Payton, an aide to Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty who is assisting Taylor. “I want to help, but I’m confused, too.”
DMV Director Anne Witt says her agency is trying to upgrade its computer system so people who report stolen tags aren’t mailed tickets in the first place.
So far Taylor has not yet had any luck getting the ticket expunged. She suspects the catch lies in one word included in her police report way back when. An officer listed the tags as “missing” instead of “stolen” because, Taylor says, “we did not see anybody take the tags.”
—-Elizabeth H. McGowan