Hitting the streets to stop disabled parking fraud - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hitting the streets to stop disabled parking fraud

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Cheaters and scammers all over the county were caught this week as part of a sweeping statewide crackdown on the fraudulent use of disabled parking placards.

If anyone needs a handicapped placard, it's Michelle Loo's dad. She says the retired veteran is having a hard time driving these days, and getting around isn't easy.

"It helps a lot especially when he goes to the hospital, parking close, getting in and out of the car, whenever he goes to restaurants or just driving in general," Loo said.

But there have been times when those special spots have been scooped up by frauds with either fake placards, or nothing at all.

"I get mad when I'm waiting for a parking spot and someone jumps out and there's really nothing I can do. I get angry," Loo said.

To cut down on the problem, the DMV conducted a statewide sting Wednesday. Investigative teams targeted high-volume areas like mall parking lots, college campuses and business districts, busting hundreds of people.

"What we found was the normal practices we see, people misusing either their family member's placards or actually had stolen placards or plates and using them for the disabled parking privilege," Paul Smith of Southern Command DMV Investigations said.

People like Louis Repaci are glad to see the problem being tackled. He has a message for violators.

"Think about it as if you or a family member had a problem, a handicap. And all of a sudden someone violated your rights and took the spot," he said.

As for Michelle Loo, she says handicap spot hijackers should watch out for karma.

"One of these days they may be handicapped, and it might not work for them when they have a placard and they need to park near the store," she said.

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