Sunday, January 3, 2010

Times Square Van's Parking Placard Was Stolen, Isn't A Parking Placard

Times Square Van's Parking Placard Was Stolen, Isn't A Parking Placard: "

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The certificate in the windshield of the illegally parked van that sat in Times Square for two days before sending the city into panic was stolen — and it doesn't have anything to do with parking, according to the nonprofit that issued the ID. Though it looks like an NYPD parking placard, a lawyer representing Detectives Crime Clinic of New Jersey and New York claims the certificate isn't supposed to carry any benefits and merely serves as a way of identifying members.

'They aren't official,'' attorney Michael Discioarro told the Associated Press. 'You're not supposed to use it to park illegally.'' He described the 'Vehicle ID Cards,' which sell for $20, as 'pretty cheesy looking.' Though Discioarro declined 'to get into characterizing what people get out of them,' he acknowledged that police complained about them a year ago, '[t]hen they forgot about it.'

The lawyer claims that George Freyre — a street vendor identified as the van's owner — had stolen the placard and does not belong to the Detectives Crime Clinic of New Jersey and New York, which exists so that law enforcement insiders can "get together and tell war stories and drink." "We filed a police report," Discioarro said. "He should be charged with possession of stolen property." Freyre has been charged with forging the date on the van's registration sticker and unlawful use of an official police card for having the phony parking placard in the Dodge's window, according to the Post.

Stolen or not, the NYPD said it might go after the group that issued the placard, according to the Daily News. 'The placards have no authorized use and are manufactured in a way to mimic law enforcement,' said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, who agency doesn't have the strongest record when it comes to combating fake parking placards.

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