July 23, 2004 06:30 AM EDT
WILMINGTON, Del. - A vanity license tag chosen as a gag has left its owner holding the bag. Jim Cara thought the "NOTAG" plate he got for his Suzuki motorcycle would give people a laugh.
Instead, he found that the laugh - along with more than 200 parking violations - was on him.
The new tag arrived in the mail Saturday, along with an avalanche of Wilmington parking violations.
"All the traffic tickets say, 'Notice of violation. License number: no tag,'" Cara explained.
Officials said city computers linked to state Division of Motor Vehicles computers finally found an address for ticketed vehicles that lacked license tags: Cara's home in Elsmere.
"I messed up the system so bad," Cara said. "I wonder if they can put me in jail or something?"
Cara, 43, who works for the American Motorcycle Association, said he's been a lifelong prankster. This time, though, "the cleanup is going to be worse than the joke," he said.
John Rago, spokesman for Wilmington Mayor James Baker, said an incorrect computer code used by the contractor that processes the city's parking violations helped land the tickets in Cara's mail. City officials plan to have it corrected, he said.
Fortunately for Cara, Wilmington appeared to be the only jurisdiction with the no-tag computer glitch, said Kelly Pitts, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
Pitts said Cara's best insurance against future problems would be to change the "NOTAG" plate.
No way, said Cara.
"I think it's awesome," he said.
Information from: The News Journal, http://www.delawareonline.com