FOLEY, Minn. (KMSP) - After photos of a red pickup truck with the license plate "FMUSLMS" surfaced Monday, a man who claims the plates were falsely registered to his gray 1987 Chevy reached out to Fox 9 News. Chad Betland of Big Lake, Minn. says he bought the '87 Chevy pickup truck in July 2015 from Brady Novak, a 20-year-old from Foley, Minn.
"I remember at one point he said he'd ordered personalized plates for the truck, I didn't think anything about it," Betland claimed.
FIRST REPORT - FMUSLMS license plate revoked by Minnesota DPS
Betland went on to explain, "[Novak] obviously never thought of the registration part of it or anything and obviously it was still tied to the VIN number to my pick up that I had."
The ultimate claim? The plates were never properly registered, so they traced back to Betland, an innocent buyer, instead of Novak.
"It's nothing I would ever put on any vehicle or put on any vehicle period!" Betland exclaimed.
The offensive 'FMUSLMS' plate earned scorn on social media and from Gov. Mark Dayton. Meanwhile, Novak's Foley, Minn. neighbors find it hard to believe one of their own is allegedly behind the religiously and culturally insensitive license plate.
"That really surprised me to find that out! [I'm] disappointed that that could happen in our community," said Georgia Holewa who lives near Novak's home. "We are actually a small town, and mostly Christian and we kind of take care of each other."
Department of Public Safety Director of Communications Bruce Gordon tells Fox 9 the owner has since surrendered the plates.
"It's probably in the best interest of everybody that those plates are no more on the vehicle," said Foley visitor LeRoy Anderson.
As for how the plates even get through processing? Apparently the driver wrote "FMUSLMS" is the name of a band he is in on his Special Plates application.
In a statement issued Monday the Department of Public Safety apologized for the offensive plate adding "it should have never been issued."
Gordon tells Fox 9 that DPS is currently reviewing the process for approving personalized plates.