Prince George’s County Police will be targeting criminals who steal disability parking placards out of vehicles and sell them and will be arresting those who buy the stolen hanging signs. Officers recovered nearly one dozen stolen disability parking placards during a recent traffic stop. The driver, 23-year-old Darius Tyson of no fixed address, was arrested. Preliminarily, our investigation revealed he had targeted parked vehicles in Temple Hills including a parking lot at a senior living facility. Unfortunately, criminals are targeting these placards far too often. Since last July, we’ve received reports of 192 placards stolen out of parked vehicles. In 70% of those cases, victims’ car windows were smashed in order to snatch the placard.
“The stealing of disability parking placards is most egregious because of who the thieves are targeting. All property crimes can affect the victims deeply. It costs money to repair any damages and there’s time away from work while dealing with insurance claims and getting lives back in order. That’s why I am launching a department-wide effort to crackdown on these placard thefts and all property crimes. Our residents should be able to walk out of their homes into a safe community with an expectation of a high quality of life. No one should walk out to their car and discover a window was broken by a thief and that the placard they need for easier parking access is now gone. The thieves and the people who purchase these stolen items must be stopped. I am asking for our entire community to organize with us as we fight back against property crime.” said Chief Stawinski, Prince George’s County Police.
COPS officers assigned to each of our district stations will begin targeted enforcement by ensuring handicapped placards they see are not reported stolen and are with their rightful owner. If a placard is found to be stolen, detectives will work to investigate not only who stole the placard but also who may have acquired the stolen property.
We are asking the community to assist us by displaying the placards whenever required by law or ordnance, for instance, a designated disability parking space. Otherwise, if you park in a spot where display of the placard is NOT required, please tuck the placard out-of-sight inside your vehicle. Also, please keep a record of the registration number located on your disability parking placard in a separate location, so, if it is ever stolen, you have the number to provide to law enforcement when you report it stolen.
Last year, the County saw a 10% decrease in overall property crime and, with your help, together, we will keep making a difference.
If you have any information that could help arrest those responsible for these type of crimes, please call detectives at 301-772-4911 or if you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text, “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.