LONG ISLAND - From Nassau to Suffolk County, law enforcement agencies across Long Island are cracking down on illegal license plates.
"They’re coming from out of state," said Gerard Hardy, Chief of Patrol with the Suffolk County Police Department. "We’re seeing a lot from Texas and New Jersey."
Officials say the plates, made of paper, are used to avoid red light cameras and tolls and to evade law enforcement.
"They’re going online and ordering registrations," said Patrick Ryder, Police Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department. "They’re buying it for $50 instead of going to the DMV to register the car for three to four hundred dollars."
And in several cases, according to police, criminals make copies of them for different cars before wreaking havoc. Errol Toulon Jr. is the Suffolk County Sheriff.
"We’re seeing more and more individuals using paper plates and altering their license plates and also having phony registrations to really commit crimes," Toulon said.
As part of the operation, police tell us they wrote 336 tickets, confiscated 59 fraudulent plates, arrested 12 individuals, and impounded 17 vehicles. They say they’re not stopping any time soon.
"There are narcotic traffickers, vehicle accidents, the other person involved won’t get the proper information," Toulon said.
Caught with a fraudulent plate and you can be charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and subject to fines or arrest.