This thread got me wondering again about something I’ve wondered about intermittently.
In a lot of touristy areas, e.g. Fisherman’s Wharf or Waikiki Beach, you see shops selling used license plates from many states. Where do they get them? Who buys them, and why? The whole thing has always seemed a little fishy to me.
Here in California the license plates go with the vehicle unless you do the paperwork to keep them, and I think then you have to transfer them to another vehicle. And if you lose or mutilate a plate, you have to turn the other one in to the DMV to get a new set. The only source I can think of for used plates would be from a wrecked car, but it would be relatively easy for the DMV to require the plates to be returned in order to declare a car wrecked.
I’m surprised it’s legal to sell used plates in these (cue dramatic yet soulful chord) post-9/11 times. It doesn’t take an FBI agent to realize that if legitimate license plates can be an important aid to law enforcement, then readily available fake plates will negate that function.