Fraudulent Texas temporary tags – it’s an issue Montgomery County Police recently warned residents and our FOX 5 viewers about. Since that report, some have reached out to FOX 5 saying they are a big concern in Fairfax County as well.
"The greater Springfield area was turning into a car junkyard, auto salvage-yard," said a man we are identifying as "R."
"R" reached out to FOX 5 saying for months, he and other community members have been finding and cataloging vehicles that, they believe, have fake Texas temporary tags.
FOX 5 confirmed there was a recent meeting between the concerned residents and Fairfax County Police. "R" says they’ve been collecting this information hoping to get county leaders and police to investigate more.
"R" took FOX 5 through Springfield – one of the areas the group has been keeping tabs on. "R" also lives in the neighborhood and asked we not show his face.
"They’re basically burner cars like having a burner phone. So an upstanding citizen that pays their bills, their taxes, that gets insurance if you get in an accident, you exchange information. No -- these people run. Because they’re throwaway cars," he said.
"R" told FOX 5 what made him get involved were crashes he was seeing in his community involving cars with temp Texas tags.
One of those crashes is now a case "R" was actually subpoenaed to be a witness to when the suspect goes to court in February of 2022.
He showed us the stamped subpoena and pictures of the crash. Police confirmed in that case, the driver was on his 3rd DUI in 5-years and now faces a slew of charges, including driving on a revoked license, hit and run, operating an uninsured vehicle and for displaying an altered fictitious registration. That last charge was for the fraudulent tag.
While in Springfield, "R" pointed out a temporary tag at almost every turn (not all were Texas temporary tags). Three of the vehicles he stopped at did show temporary tag from the Lone Star State: one older Toyota with a flat, an older GMC van and a 2000s model Bentley.
The Bentley owner claims his tag was legitimately obtained. Interestingly, all three tags seen and filmed listed the same seller or dealer.
On the TEXAS MVA website, it says the dealer’s license was just granted this summer.
We asked Fairfax County Police if they could confirm whether this involves a legitimate dealer and was told they could not definitively say.
However, police did tell FOX 5 the three are a "good example" of what officers are now investigating.
Later in the day, a spokesperson wrote back to FOX 5 and said in part of their emailed response:
"We are not able to discuss details of open cases, but I can confirm for you that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is investigating this licensee."
"Last year our Organized Crime and Intelligence Bureau, they were notified of a business that was fraudulently selling these temporary Texas tags," said Second Lt. James Curry, a Fairfax County Police Department Spokesperson. "An investigation ensued and we were fortunate that an arrest did occur from that. But since that arrest, we still do see those temporary tags throughout the county and this is an issue that’s not just central to Fairfax County. It’s an issue that, across the country, many other police departments and communities are experiencing."
"Certainly there’s individuals who are unaware of the proper process and procedure to get their vehicles registered and then there maybe others who are using this for nefarious purposes. And that’s why we’re taking the time to educate our officers about what to look for and how to properly enforce this," he added.
Curry did say it’s helpful to educate neighbors about how to properly obtain Virginia temporary tags and license plates. But confronting others or calling in every tag does not help police.
What Fairfax County Police are for, is for people to call in with specific information of someone potentially dealing or illegally selling these tags, so that police may investigate.