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"Four-single, four-cylinder, five-valve overhead cam," he says. "When you start rattling off stuff like that, cops get pissed."
When Malicoat moved from Westport to a downtown loft last July, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department was still pulling him over, but less frequently. "Downtown I always wore a helmet," he says. "Lots of times, I'd get pulled over and everybody was like, 'Wow, that's cool.' Except when I go north of the river."
On April 7 of this year, he was stopped by a squadron of Oakview cops -- two patrol cars and a motorcyclist. One officer in the entourage radioed a state trooper, who said an on-road ATV was bogus. Someone else called a local DMV employee, who arrived on the scene to confirm it. But after more than an hour, the officers issued Malicoat only a fix-it ticket for a driving restriction. (Because of his poor eyesight, Malicoat needed a left-hand mirror.)
On May 12, he was headed up north again to fill a shift at the Minsky's in Gladstone. He was doing about 35 miles an hour near the intersection of North Broadway and Englewood Road in Gladstone when an Oakview motorcycle policeman spotted him and flashed his lights. Malicoat recognized the cop. It was the same officer who'd pulled him over a month before.
But though he was out of his jurisdiction, Sgt. Mike Fryer pulled Malicoat over and then radioed for the Missouri Highway Patrol.
"He likes getting stopped by the police and showing them it's a game to him. Well, it's not a game to me," Fryer tells the Pitch.
State Trooper Rick Fletcher arrived on the scene. A 15-year veteran, he'd heard of "street legal" posses in northwestern Missouri but had never encountered such a rider. "He [Malicoat] got it inspected improperly as a motorcycle, not an ATV, so all the [Missouri] Department of Revenue had to go on was that it was a motorcycle, not an ATV," Fletcher says. "The plates were issued to him by mistake. He was issued a letter from the Department of Revenue prior to my stopping him, advising him to send the plates in to the Department of Revenue, which he failed to do, and the plates were suspended."
"They did not give me any paperwork," Malicoat counters. "They just took my plates and said, 'We're going to hold on to them.'"
Malicoat says he never received notice from the DMV about a registration problem. And Nicki Hollis, an administrative analyst with the Driver and Vehicle Services Bureau for the Department of Revenue, backs up this claim. If a license plate is suspended, she says, the DMV will flag that driver's general registration file. No such bulletin appears on Malicoat's record.
"I don't know why the highway patrol is taking plates for that, because it is a motor vehicle," Hollis says. "You can have an ATV that is modified as long as it complies with motor-vehicle title and registration laws."
Connie Falter, a manager at the Department of Revenue, says all confiscated plates must be shipped to the DMV to be catalogued, but so far she's received neither Malicoat's plates nor any notice that his plates were taken. "Usually we get something from law enforcement that shows what a person was stopped for," she says.
In April, in response to highway patrol requests, the Department of Revenue changed its ATV inspection regulations in an attempt to curb fast-and-loose classifications of ATVs as motorcycles. Four-wheelers must now pass a separate highway-patrol inspection. To be classified as safe cars, they might now need roll cages and seatbelts (dune buggies, anyone?). But Falter says the change in policy should not affect riders such as Malicoat, who would be grandfathered legal. About a month ago, though, a state trooper visited Okenfuss at Reno's and demanded to look at Malicoat's sales and inspection reports.