Metro police, alongside the Department of Revenue, are investigating after it was discovered 700 Tennessee license plates were missing from Davidson County's Clerk office.
Officials told Nashville's News 2 Investigates, in June of 2012 a pallet of Tennessee license plates arrived at the county clerk's office.
The shipment was supposed to contain a total of 15,000 plates, however some of the boxes arrived damaged and opened. Some boxes also appeared to be missing.
County Clerk Brenda Wynn said the shipment arrived two months before she took over the position.
"Our office at the time reported an inconsistency with the delivery. We reported that to the Department of Revenue," Wynn said.
According to Wynn, she only learned the license plates were missing on January 11 after she ordered an internal audit.
Wynn said after looking in every satellite office in Davidson County for the missing plates, she contacted authorities.
"My staff believes these plates were actually lost in the shipping, but we cannot prove that," she said.
Wynn continued, "What troubles me is there are 700 missing plates and we don't know where they got lost. I want to be accountable to the citizens of Davidson County and keeping track of that inventory is part of that responsibility."
Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Buford Tune, a security expert and former Metro officer.
"I have never heard of this many tags missing," he said.
Tune said it is important to locate the tags since they could have been stolen or even used for some nefarious purpose.
"We've got tags out there that could be used in gangs, could be used in robberies," he said, adding, "You got rapes, kidnappings, anything these tags could be used for. If you have a license number not in the computer, that is a dead end."
Due to the incident, new polices have been put in place to ensure this sort of thing does not occur again.
The company that produced and shipped the license plates in Henning, Tennessee are working to determine what happened to the license plates from their end.
The Department of Revenue released a statement regarding the investigation which read in part, " We are working with the clerk's office as well as our supplier as they work to resolve the issue of the missing plates. We consider this issue to be serious and are diligently working to ascertain all the facts related to this investigation."
"The Department reminds vehicle registrants in Tennessee that only officially issued license plates by county clerks are valid as proof of proper vehicle registration. Persons who operate a motor vehicle without proper registration are subject to fines and potential prosecution."