Found: The Owners of That Mysterious Scooter

The New York City police on Tuesday solved the case of the serviceable and unsecured cream-colored Vespa that had been left for months in front of 1 Sutton Place South without being driven away, ticketed, towed or taken.

“It was not stolen or lost,” a Police Department spokesman said. “It was parked.”

The scooter belongs to a couple who live across town on the Upper West Side, the authorities said. The couple explained that they had used it into the fall, but when the weather turned cold, they simply left it on Sutton Place and apparently removed the license plates to make it more difficult for officers to issue a summons for parking violations, the authorities said.

The practice of removing plates to thwart ticketing agents is not uncommon, the police said, particularly with motorcycles and scooters, where the vehicle identification number is harder to find.

A vehicle that violates alternate-side parking rules (Tuesdays and Fridays, on that block, between East 56th and 57th Streets) is typically under the jurisdiction of the Parking Violations Bureau, but one without plates is customarily referred to the Sanitation Department. However, if it is missing only a license plate — and not stripped of tires or other essentials — it may be referred by Sanitation to the Police Department.

After City Room reported the mystery on Monday, a Sanitation Department supervisor tagged the scooter for pickup by a Police Department contractor because it was in too good condition to be deemed derelict and sold for scrap. A towing contractor picked it up Tuesday morning to deliver it to the police who, through the vehicle identification number, found the owner.

The couple planned to retrieve the vehicle after paying a fine, the authorities said. They declined to comment.

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