SURRY, Maine — An Ellsworth man is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge after he tried to pass off part of a food carton as a valid motor vehicle inspection sticker, according to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

What’s more, the bar code on the fake sticker had been removed from a carton of Virginia Slims cigarettes, Deputy Travis Frost said Thursday.

Frost said he was parked by the elementary school on North Bend Road a few minutes before 8 a.m. Wednesday when Nicholas Testa, 41, drove past him in a 2002 Toyota pickup truck. Testa was driving faster than the 15 mph school zone limit, he said, and the inspection sticker mounted in the windshield appeared to be gray — an expired color — instead of blue. The windshield on Testa’s truck was cracked, he added.

Frost said he pulled Testa over not far away, on Route 172 in the local village, and immediately noticed the sticker was a fake. The forged placard appeared to have been cut from a blue cardboard food container, he said.

“It was made with a Sharpie [marker],” the deputy said of the lines drawn on the cardboard.

He added that printed cooking instructions were legible on the fake sticker.

Testa was summoned on a charge of displaying a fictitious inspection sticker and was issued warnings for speeding in a school zone and driving a defective vehicle, Frost said.

Because the truck had not passed inspection, it was towed from the scene, according to the deputy.

Testa is due to appear Nov. 8 in Ellsworth District Court on the fake sticker charge.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....