Officer Stops Wienermobile, Suspects It Was Stolen; Now He's Being Roasted

Thursday, June 28th 2007, 10:20 pm
By: News On 6

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer ... car thief?

An Arizona Highway Patrol officer who ran the Wienermobile's plates as the vehicle traveled for a promotion briefly thought the giant hot dog on wheels was, well, hot.

The Wienermobile was on the road for a promotion in which contestants sing the Oscar Mayer jingle for a shot at appearing in a commercial and winning ``American Idol'' tickets.

The 27-foot-long, 11-foot-tall vehicle was in a construction zone in downtown Tucson Wednesday, slowing traffic. Officer Korey Lankow caught up to it and ran its ``Y-U-M-M-Y'' license plate to make sure it was street legal.

The plate came back as stolen. Lankow pulled over the Wienermobile, and two more officers arrived to help.

It turns out someone had indeed stolen the ``YUMMY'' plate off the Wienermobile in Columbia, Mo., back in February. Oscar Mayer officials reported the theft to police there, company spokeswoman Syd Lindner said. The company got a replacement YUMMY plate that same month and notified police in Missouri, Lindner said.

But the plate still came back as stolen Wednesday, with no note that it was OK if found on Wienermobile itself. A message left with the Columbia Police Department seeking to clear up the discrepancy wasn't returned.

Jeff Kendell, 23, of Salt Lake City, was a passenger _ or ``hot dogger'' in Oscar Mayer lingo _ in the rolling wiener. Not missing a beat, Kendell handed out wiener whistles to the officers, who took a peek inside the Wienermobile and snapped pictures with digital cameras.

Arizona Highway Patrol spokesman Quent Mehr said Lankow is hearing plenty about it from his buddies.

``The officer, he's just like, 'I don't believe this is happening,''' Mehr said.