Owner of ‘Area 51’ Nevada License Plate Flooded With Tickets Thanks to Novelty Tags
Tourists from all over the U.S. buy up “Area 51” license plates, and the real owner is getting fines in the mail.
Area 51 is one of the most well-known places in the United States—not in a "seven wonders of the world" kind of way, but in an "aliens and conspiracy theories" one. People from across the nation flock to Nevada every year to the area surrounding the U.S. Air Force facility where they can buy their share of souvenirs from every small corner store.
Locals like to poke fun at its lore too, including one BMW owner named Chris who owns the actual "Area 51" Nevada license plate. There's just one problem: all of those novelty license plates that tourists can buy have apparently wreaked havoc on Chris' driving record.
Tickets have erroneously arrived in the mail for Chris over the last seven years, according to a series of TikTok videos released under his account called Area51Plate. In one video, Chris shows 172 different tickets arranged on the floor, all of which contain a photo of his license plate—or, what would be his plate if it were legit.
For those keeping track, that means an average of one ticket every other week for the last seven years.
Chris says that the majority of the tickets stem from drivers simply driving through toll booths without paying. The biggest single fine was a $200 parking ticket from New York City. Because the novelty plates sport his actual registration details on a faux-Nevada plate, the automated ticketing processes across various state lines automatically assume that Chris is toll dodging and send him the ticket instead of the actual vehicle owner. He then has to dispute the ticket, which Chris says he has been successful doing each time that he has received one in the mail.
Some government agencies, like the Las Vegas Metro Police, have reportedly even threatened to issue warrants for Chris' arrest. Chris didn't get into the details of what the warrant would have been issued for, and a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Office of Public Information wasn't familiar with the issue to provide further information to The Drive, but we're willing to bet it was related to some sort of traffic incident tied to the license plate.
Now, this isn't the first time that we've seen a vanity plate result in a vehicle owner receiving a ton of tickets that should have rightfully been sent to other drivers. Just two years ago, a security researcher from California received $12,000 worth of tickets for his license plate that reads "Null," which, in technical terms, equates to an empty value. The California DMV and Los Angeles Police Department both told the owner to give up his plate, but he refused.
Chris has the same attitude. Despite it being tiresome and costly to defend against so many legal threats and false fines, the Area 51 plate isn't going anywhere so as long as Chris has something to say about it.
"I am the custodian of the plate," said Chris, who believes that this is more of a Hanlon's razor situation rather than intentional malice. "It’s my responsibility to ensure its existence."
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