On Your Side: Dallas woman's vanity license plate nearly lands her in jail

There are more than 500 specialty license plate designs available to Texas drivers, but just one mishap could have landed a Dallas woman in jail.

She says the vanity plates she purchased were already in the system as "stolen."

Christy Wiggins considers her Mercedes AMG GT53 to be her dream car, but there was just one thing missing.


"I've always had custom plates," Wiggins said.

She logged on to MyPlates.com, the website which serves as the "personal plates marketing vendor for the State of Texas."

The Texas DMV website notes that "all custom plates must be approved" by the state agency.


Christy wanted a plate that said ‘Petronas,’ after the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team.

"I had to try a lot of different variations of the word before I found one that was available," she said.

She landed on ‘PTRONUS.’


The plates were approved by the Texas DMV, and she paid $300 to get them.

"The county registered these plates to my car," Wiggins said.

But this is where things get bumpy.

Her car, with the custom places, was stolen from her garage after what she admits was a lapse in good judgment.

"My garage door was open, the key was in the car," Wiggins said.

According to a summary of the police report she filed, which was provided to FOX 4 by Dallas Police, the car was recovered early the next morning.


"It was taken to the city lot and I had it towed from there to Mercedes to wait for new keys to be ordered and delivered," Wiggins said.

The car sat parked on the street, facing the wrong direction, when a Dallas police officer on patrol took notice.

"He pinged my plate and ran it through the system, and it came back as a stolen plate," Wiggins explained.

You might be thinking, that makes sense, her car had just been stolen, but it wasn't the Mercedes that was flagged.

It was a Dodge Charger stolen in 2021 that had the same custom plates Christy just bought from the state, despite police saying those plates were still assigned to the Charger and still in the system as stolen.

"He said, 'Yes ma'am, if you were to drive your car away from Mercedes with this plate on it you would be pulled over and arrested at gunpoint. Your car would be seized, and you would likely be thrown in jail.'  I'm about to throw up at this point," Wiggins remembered.

Christy searched online and found a social media post from when the Dodge was stolen and then abandoned after it wrecked.


The police report summary provided to FOX 4 by DPD confirms the incident.

"If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.  When you buy a license plate from MyPlates, you think it's all connected. They're the only plate company you can buy them from," said Wiggins.

We turned to the Texas DMV to ask how a plate which shows up stolen in the system could be approved for sale.

While the spokesperson for the agency declined to speak to FOX 4 on camera he did send a statement via email.

 "The department confirmed the license plates were stolen on November 12, 2021, and recovered on November 13, 2021. The license plates were issued to the new applicant in April 2023, which is after they were no longer reported stolen," reads the statement from Adam Shaivitz with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. "The department cannot speak to why law enforcement would treat the license plates as stolen after having been recovered."

"I take the word of the officer. If he says this is what's in the system then I believe that," said Wiggins.


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The same officer helped Christy navigate the Downtown Crime Unit for the Dallas Police, who she says also processed a special request to remove her plates from the stolen Dodge.

She dropped off cookies to thank the officer while driving very carefully to the destination.

"I'm still a little weary. I watch my surroundings and I don't speed because I don't want to get pulled over," said Wiggins.

MyPlates would not comment on why a set of plates would be both for sale and flagged as stolen. But after we reached out to them, the company did refund Christy's $300 and offered her a new set of vanity plates at no cost.