Everyone’s experienced tension with their neighbors, but few have sunk to the level of swiping their neighborhood nemesis’ license plates.
Bryan Whitman, the highest-ranking career civilian in the Defense Department’s public affairs office, was hit with theft charges for allegedly stealing license plates from a neighbor’s nanny three times because he felt she misused a visitor’s parking pass, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
On April 4th, a nanny in Capitol Hill walked out to her car to find a note on her windshield, according to charging documents obtained by the Post.
“I know you are misusing this visitor pass to park here daily,” the note read, according to the report. “If you do not stop I will report it, have your car towed and the resident who provided this to you will have his privileges taken away.”
The nanny alerted the couple she worked for about the note and they then posted on a community Facebook page asking the author to come forward, according to the report. When no one did, the nanny continued to park her car as usual.
Two days later, the nanny’s license plates were stolen, according to the Post. Court records showed that after the couple employing the nanny had the plates replaced and bolted to her car, the rear license plate was stolen yet again.
The incident happened one more time, but the couple had installed a surveillance camera in their front window. The court records obtained by the Post said Whitman was caught on camera approaching and inspecting the nanny’s car.
Whitman handed over the plates to police and was charged with three counts of misdemeanor theft. The Post reported that Whitman agreed to a deal on Tuesday that would lead to his case’s dismissal if he paid $1,000 in restitution, performed 32 hours of community service, stayed out of trouble for the next 10 months and did not go near either the nanny or the woman who employs her.
Colleagues expressed disbelief over Whitman’s behavior to The Post, describing him as “professional” and saying the behavior was out of character for him.
“I mean, I’m speechless, I don’t even know what to say, frankly,” a former political appointee at the Pentagon told the newspaper. “I’ve always found him to be a good guy. I relied on his advice a lot.”
When Post reporter John Woodrow Cox approached Whitman at home to ask if he wanted to discuss his case, he wasn’t interested.
“No, I don’t think so,” he told Cox.