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NYPD unveils "Barnacle" pilot program, featuring device designed to end illegal parking

NYPD unveils "Barnacle" pilot program, featuring device designed to end illegal parking
NYPD unveils "Barnacle" pilot program, featuring device designed to end illegal parking 02:23

NEW YORK -- Move over subway robot, the NYPD has got a new pilot program.

The device is called Barnacle, and it reportedly works exactly how it sounds.

It's target is illegally parked vehicles.

CBS New York spoke with its manufacturer on Tuesday.

According to the NYPD, commercial vehicles parked in residential areas last week in Queens between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. were slapped with the yellow devices.

"It's a device that unfolds. It adheres to the windshield of your car," said Colin J. Heffron Sr., the executive chairman of Edison, New Jersey-based Barnacle Parking. "There's two giant suction cups that are engaged in a self-contained pump within the Barnacle. Basically, it makes it impossible for you to drive because you can't see through your window."

Heffron actually invented the device with a friend after getting one too many boots on his car.

"I lived in London for a very long time and got many many boots," he said. "It just seemed archaic to get booted and have to wait all day. I remember I was actually on way to meeting and had to take a taxi for 50 or 100 pounds, instead of driving, and still had to pay for my car and wait four hours."

Wondering how the Barnacle comes off? Well, if you scan the QR code on the device, put in your license plate information, and pay your fines, you will then get a code to punch into the Barnacle. It will then release and then you fold it up and drop it off.

One woman who did not want to give her name was booted in Hell's Kitchen. It was a green boot, meaning it was from the city sheriff or marshal on behalf of the Department of Finance.

So, if she pays, she can punch in a code and take it off, but she planned to wait for removal assistance, which could take up to six hours.

"It's fine. I don't have to go anywhere, but if I did I would be panicking," she said.

If you are hit with an NYPD boot, however, yellow or blue, it does not have a keypad, can be padlocked, and your car can then be towed.

CBS New York showed her the Barnacle.

"You could have somebody that has a little too much gumption, whatever you want to call it, and he might do something drastic and try to drive with it," the woman said.

Others had the same concern.

"Some people will just stick their heads out the windows and drive with it," one person said.

However, the Barnacle has an alarm and GPS tracking, so police would be notified immediately.

"The boot, at least you've got some safety," one person said.

Another driver said, "I've seen some people trying to drive away from it with a boot on and it's big a mess."

The NYPD is leasing four of the Barnacle devices for a pilot program to target illegally parked trucks and vehicles.

One driver said seeing it would help warn other drivers not to park in certain spots.

"That's more visible than a boot, A boot, when you're driving, you can't really see," the driver said.

Each Barnacle costs $250 per month.

"I'm not a driver. I don't own a car and I never will in the city because, you know, stuff like that," Max Biskind said of the potential of getting a Barnacle. "Just take the subway or ride a bike."

Barnacle is used by other police departments and also at universities across the country. To ensure the devices are returned, you also have to pay a holding fee.

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