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NYPD launching crackdown on scooters, ATVs, mopeds and cars with fake plates. Find out where the security checkpoints will be.

NYPD cracking down on illegal scooters, mopeds and ATVs at bridges and tunnels
NYPD cracking down on illegal scooters, mopeds and ATVs at bridges and tunnels 02:08

NEW YORK - The NYPD is launching a scooter crackdown.

Police say there will be increased security and checkpoints at bridges and tunnels.

"Just put a lot more pressure and making people feel uncomfortable to be on these things knowing that they are unregistered or knowing that they're carrying firearms," said Tarik Sheppard, NYPD deputy commissioner of public information.

Police say who gets stopped will be random; for example, they'll stop every third scooter. They believe if they target people for lesser crimes, they'll see fewer robberies as well.

Officers will also be targeting ATVs, mopeds, and so-called "ghost cars," or cars with fake license plates. 

The announcement comes a day after two NYPD officers were shot in Queens while investigating a robbery pattern involving scooters.

Officers Richard Yarusso and Christopher Abreu were shot after spotting a man on a moped driving the wrong way on 82nd Street. They tried pulling him over, but police say the suspect ran, and then opened fire. Abreu was shot in the leg. Yarusso was hit in his bulletproof vest. 

The two officers were treated and released from the hospital Monday and they're expected to be OK. 

The suspect, 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, was shot in the right ankle. Police say he's a suspect in "several robbery patterns" in Queens. CBS New York has been told he will be charged with attempted murder.

"A person like this that shoots at two police officers at point-blank range ... They should not remain in our city," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Scooter use in crime on the rise

Police say that robbery patterns involving scooters have dramatically increased in New York City over the past few years. During the first half of 2020, there were no robbery patterns involving scooters in New York City. There were 20 during the same period last year, and so far this year there have been 80.

"The method of flight by mopeds and scooters is up significantly," Sheppard said.

Police say the current robbery patterns involving scooters encompass "hundreds and hundreds of incidents."

The NYPD says more than half of this specific type of crime involves migrants, including Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, but they point out overall most migrants that come to the city just want a better life.

The crackdown also comes ahead of the expected launch of congestion pricing later this month. License plate and E-ZPass scanners will be used to help enforce congestion pricing, raising the concern of people using fake plates to evade the toll. 

Fake plate crackdown ahead of congestion pricing

Just last month, the MTA said it was also cracking down on fake plates and toll evaders and netted nearly $1 million in unpaid tolls, fees, judgments and debts. Hundreds of vehicles were seized.  

New York City Councilman Bob Holden also is seeking a crackdown on devices that can mask license plates

"Law enforcement is so busy doing other things, this is not a priority yet but it has to be," Holden said. "We really need our laws to catch up."

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