NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams has opened up a new front in the war on crime, ordering police to seize cars with illegal paper license plates and arrest the drivers.
As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, hizzoner says the drivers are often up to no good, using the cars to commit violent acts.
We've all heard of ghost guns, but now Adams says there are thousands of "ghost cars" on the streets of the city, traveling with fake plates. He says the drivers run red lights, break traffic laws, and can be found with illegal guns and drugs -- and the NYPD is no longer going to ignore them.
"New Jersey, always knew something was strange about that place, New Jersey, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas," the mayor said.
Adams rattled off just some of the fake plates confiscated by the NYPD and the city sheriff on cars whose drivers were found to be up to no good.
The city is now mounting a city-wide crackdown on ghost cars.
Take the driver of a 2014 Maserati with a fake New Jersey plate, which Adams said was, "found to be in possession of a .40-caliber gun, possession of crack, suspended license."
Or the driver of a white Jeep, also with fake New Jersey plates, "driving on shoulder, fled the police in car, then on foot, apprehended carrying a gun," Adams said.
But it's not just guns and drugs. The mayor, City Sheriff Anthony Miranda and NYPD brass say people with fake plates often break traffic laws, go through red lights, speed through school zones, and commit hit-and-run accidents. like the driver who fled the scene after hitting multiple people recently in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, killing 67-year-old grandmother Lynn Christopher and critically injuring her 7-year-old grandson.
"The video was chilling, watching the individual flee the scene with no regard for the pedestrians that he struck," Adams said.
"Ghost cars often park illegally, causing the quality-of-life concerns that hinder the flow of traffic, block driveways, fire hydrants and even handicapped spots," NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster said. "And certainly, it's not hard to believe that masking the identity of a vehicle in this way is an enticing idea for someone who might want to be planning a terrorist act."
Officials say there has been 300 percent increase in summons issued to ghost cars over the past five years -- from 893 in 2016 to 3,568 in 2021.
"This is our warning to all, this ends today," Royster said.
Paper plates are legitimately used by dealers to transport cars, or for new residents to the state. They can also be copied and printed at home. Officials are urging people who see a car with paper plates in their neighborhood to call 311 or 911 and report it.
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