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When it comes to marriage proposals, most men opt for the romantic route: the beach at sunset, a quiet walk in the woods, or a candlelit dinner. Matt Van Vliet, however, who lives in California with bride-to-be Samantha Labo, went for something a little more, shall we say, arresting—and the whole incident was caught on the dashcam of a police cruiser. It's only fitting, though, since the couple met in jail five years ago.
But first, the proposal: The video, which Labo obtained from the police and posted on YouTube on Jan. 19, shows Van Vliet's car being pulled over in New Hampshire by two of New London's finest. The couple was in town for a Colby-Sawyer College reunion and on the way to a farewell dinner. Police Chief Edward G. Andersen brusquely asks Van Vliet for his license and registration, and after a quick check, announces that there is a warrant out for his arrest. Meanwhile, when Labo questions the officer about what's going on, he reprimands her for being insolent and she starts sobbing. "They had us both step out of the car," Labo told WMUR. "They pretended to put handcuffs on him behind his back. Then the cop started patting him down and pulled something out of his pocket."
Voilà—out comes a telltale little ring box. Van Vliet takes it from Andersen, approaches Labo, drops to one knee, and pops the question. "I went from being the most terrified I've ever been to probably the most ecstatic," said Labo. What seems like a risky plan and the antithesis of any woman's fantasy marriage proposal was, in fact, the sweetest gesture Van Vliet could have dreamed up. (Watch the entire video here.)
Back when they were college freshmen, Van Vliet and Sabo both got swept up with about 100 kids in a police raid of a party where there was underage drinking. After a passing a Breathalyzer test and making phone calls to their parents, they were released. About a month later, the couple started dating. "I figured since we kind of met in prison, it would be kind of appropriate to do it that way," Van Vliet said of his dramatic proposal. He called Andersen, who had originally arrested both of them, and he agreed to help out with the ruse during his off-duty hours. "At first I was going to say no," the Police Chief told CNN. The couple is planning to get married in 2015.
— Sarah B. Weir