KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Danielle Carnes was just a block away from work when she was pulled over by Leavenworth Police for driving with a stolen tag.
“Are you kidding me?” Carnes remembered asking the officer.
But the officer wasn’t. He took her license plate and handed her a ticket for possession of stolen property. That’s a criminal charge that carries up to a $2,500 fine and a year in jail.
Here’s the rub: Carnes had just bought the car she was driving. And that license plate? It belonged to the dealership -- Government Fleet Sales on Front Street in Kansas City. It was a dealer tag.
“I figured since they sold police cars they were a reputable company,” Carnes said.
But what Carnes was never told is that you can’t drive around on a dealer tag -- unless you are a dealer.
“They said go ahead and leave the dealer tag on and then in a week pick up the title and the 30-day tag," Carnes said she was told by a salesman at the car lot.
If anyone should know handing out dealer tags is illegal, it would be the man who owns Government Fleet Sales -- Shane O’Roark, a former KCMO police officer.
Carnes, who now has to defend herself in court on a possession of stolen property charge , has repeatedly asked the car lot for a written statement she can give the judge to prove her innocence.
Despite multiple promises, Government Fleet has failed to provide her with any statement. That’s why Carnes called the FOX4 Problem Solvers. We visited Government Fleet Sales and were also assured by a woman named Rachel that she would help Carnes solve this problem.
But she never did.
By the time Carnes court date arrived, she was on her own. Lucky for Carnes, she’d done her homework. She had all the documents to prove to the prosecutor that she was a victim, not a criminal.
Plus Problem Solvers did a little sleuthing and discovered that Leavenworth Police had mistaken the dealer plate on Carnes’ vehicle with a different
dealer plate that Government Fleet Sales had reported stolen two years ago. Armed with all that knowledge, the prosecutor dismissed the case before court
“I feel great,” Carnes said. “I’m so relieved.”
But Carnes knows she’ll never buy another car from Government Fleet sales again -- because if the car lot had provided her with a temporary tag instead of dealer plate, she would have avoided this mess from the start.