Siler City, N.C. — The sudden closure of the license plate agency in Siler City has left customers in the area curious.
“I’m totally surprised,” customer Ella Taylor said Tuesday.
Taylor said she has been coming to the office for years and couldn’t believe when she heard this week that the state Division of Motor Vehicles had closed the office saying the operator might have violated state laws.
The agency, at 1205 N. 2nd Ave., has operated for more than 20 years under a state contract with Margaret S. Tarkenton, officials said.
The DMV’s License and Theft Bureau found during an investigation that the agency has failed to perform its obligations under the contract, that the contractor is ineligible to handle DMV property and funds and that the agency has shown repeated disregard for standard operating procedures.
DMV representatives are conducting an inventory audit of the agency and removing state equipment and supplies, officials said, noting that the investigation isn't complete.
A sign hanging on the door of the office on Tuesday stated the agency was closed “indefinitely.”
“This is just a license plate agency,” customer Ted Cannaday said. “What can be going on here?”
The DMV said it doesn’t know if criminal activity was involved. A DMV spokeswoman said it’s too early to tell if or how customers who did business there might be affected.
“I’m curious to see what’s happening. I guess, if they are investigating something, we’ll see what happens,” Cannaday said.
Customers are being asked to drive to other locations.
License plate agencies offer vehicle registration services and title transactions, as well as vehicle license plate renewals, replacement tags and duplicate registrations. About 120 license plate agencies operate across North Carolina.
The closest license plate agencies to Siler City are at 338 S. Fayetteville St. in Asheboro (336-629-9623) and 331 Wilson Road in Sanford (919-774-6027).
Orange and Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall confirmed that he has spoken with DMV investigators and said the investigation is ongoing.
Tarkenton declined to comment on Tuesday, saying she needed to speak with her attorney first.