USAREUR license plates on eBay cause concern
December 29, 2003
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Just about anything can turn up for sale on eBay — including U.S. Army Europe auto registration plates.
Members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron at Ramstein Air Base recently came across four plates for sale on the Internet auction site.
The plates were believed to have come from vehicles that had recently been shipped back to the United States. USAREUR plates must remain on the car while in transit until the owner registers the vehicle at his or her next duty station. The plates are then removed and can be destroyed or retained by the owner.
When a privately owned vehicle is sold to a local national, plates should be turned in to the vehicle registration office.
“There’s nothing against the law in selling these plates,” said Floyd Madrid, 86th Airlift Wing anti-terrorism/force protection program manager. “[The plates] really belong to the individuals themselves. They can do with them what they want.”
But in the hands of the wrong person, the plates could pose a potential security risk — although with entrance checks in place at military installations, it is unlikely that a terrorist could get on base with a USAREUR plate alone, according to Millie Waters, Installation Management Agency-Europe spokesperson.
“The only thing is that we try to educate our folks and say, ‘Hey, it’s not wise to be selling your plates … because if somebody could get them, you don’t know what they’re going to do with them,’” Madrid said.
“I run the chance of getting my registration checked [and] my ID checked, but … that’s one step that I don’t have to worry about — is the plates.”
For more information on when and how to discard USAREUR license plates, contact an installation vehicle registration office.