On August 1, 2014, Jennifer Brinkley gave an interview to Fox News regarding the Department of Homeland Security's(DHS) seizure of her "wanted” vehicle, a 1985 Land Rover Defender. The law-abiding citizen from North Carolina was caught unaware that there was a problem with her owning the classic car. When DHS officials and local law enforcement officers bombarded her property wearing bullet-proof vest and seize orders of her car she was dumbfounded.
The sealed documents left DHS pondering why they were confiscating Brinkley's property. They could only speculate that owning the Defender broke the Clean Air Act, which does not pass the emissions test due to the age of the car. The Brinkley's vehicle was one of 40 Land Rover vehicles seized that day.
One could be relieved that citizens can breathe easier tonight knowing those vehicles parked in their owners driveways helped save the earth and environment.
Brinkley described what happened when her property was invaded by law officers, "They popped up the hood and looked at the Vehicle Identification Number and compared it with a piece of paper and then took the car with them." A vehicle VIN number is located in more than one place and the numbers are supposed to match. If the numbers match in Brinkley's case then she says the DHS needs to give back her car.
Oddly enough there were no government documents sent to her home warning her of any violation of vehicle emission laws, if that is the case. In a bit of irony, one would think that a caravan of police needed to confiscate a single vehicle would cause more pollution than a vehicle parked off the road not running.
There could be more to this than the family knows, according to a WBTV interview with Brinkley, importers have been changing VIN numbers to comply with import regulations. All vehicles coming to America must meet strict safety and emission standards, these classic cars do not meet those standards; however, as a vehicle over 25 years old it is allowed to be imported due to a government loophole.
This quirk in the law makes it legal to have Land Rovers imported yet break the Clean Air Act guidelines. The government is not as interested in correcting the problem and sending notices to the owners, then they are with taking people's property. Defenders sell at outrageous prices in the United States and Brinkley paid $60,000 for her vehicle and has had no luck reaching the seller.