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PennDOT Computer Glitch Leaves Man Driving With "Apparent" Stolen Plates

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A PennDOT computer glitch left one local man in quite a predicament.

He was driving around with license plates that appeared to be stolen, but were actually his.

He tried to sort things out with PennDOT, but when he couldn't he decided to "Get Marty."

"I was just caught in this catch," Tim Hindes told KDKA's Marty Griffin.

For the first time in well over a month, Hindes isn't paranoid that he will get stopped by police, arrested, and even thrown in jail.

"By checking my plate, the police officer would see my plate was dead. In approaching me and the vehicle would see I did not have leasing rights, or rights to the vehicle whatsoever," Hindes said.

Here's what happened: A Good Samaritan pointed out that Tim's registration sticker had expired. Through some sort of snafu, PennDOT declared the plate dead, and his name was deleted as lease of the car.

In PennDOT computers it looked like he stole the car and put fake plates on it.

"I received no notification from PennDOT. It was done in their system. As far as I knew, I was driving with a valid plate," Hindes said.

He had to drive, and had to protect himself somehow so he got a letter from his insurance company.

It said: "Due to an error through PennDOT, the listed driver Timothy Hindes has been notified that not only has his license plate been cancelled, but that he also would no longer be covered by auto insurance. He is still insured through Nationwide Insurance."

He got a letter from Chrysler proving he is registered to his car and had it legally notarized.

Hindes says he called local police and was told by them to, "park the vehicle and rent a car."

He buried PennDOT in calls saying he called at least 20 or 25 times, sometimes hourly.

He says things even got testy.

"I had supervisors interrupt me, and hang up on me, really not interested in trying to help me, or interested in trying to solve my problem or even listen to me," he said.

"I was caught in this system, and without your help I was unable to resolve it," he told Marty Griffin.

Griffin immediately reached out to PennDOT and was told consumer should contact PennDOT's customer service call center to explain their situation, and provide PennDOT with proof.

Within a day of KDKA contacting PennDOT, Hindes' nearly year-long nightmare was over.

"Within 24 hours, you were able to reach out to them, they contacted me, they reinstated my plate, and added me as a lessee on the vehicle," Hindes said.

PennDOT immediately resolved the problem as soon as KDKA made them aware.

However they still can't say how the issue happened, how often, or why it happens.

They told KDKA they are working on it.

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