Prince George's County Police launch effort to crackdown on disability parking placard thefts

The Prince George's County Police announced they will begin targeting criminals who steal disability parking placards out of vehicles to sell and distribute, Chief Hank Stawinski announced Thursday. They will also target those who buy the stolen placards.

During a recent traffic stop, police say they recovered nearly one dozen stolen placards.

In a preliminary investigation, police discovered the driver of the car, Darius Tyson, 23, had targeted parked vehicles in Temple Hills, as well as a senior living facility in the area. Tyson was arrested.

Police say 192 placards have been stolen out of parked vehicles since last July. The victims' car windows were smashed out in 70 percent of the cases, according to police.

"The stealing of disability parking placards is most egregious because of who the thieves are targeting. All property crimes can affect the victims deeply," said Stawinski. "That's why I am launching a department-wide effort to crackdown on these placard thefts and all property crimes."

Officers will ensure handicapped placards they see are not reported stolen and with their rightful owner, police say. If they find one that is stolen, detectives will investigate who stole the placard as well as who acquired it.

Police are asking the community to assist them by displaying placards when required by law. If parked in a spot where displaying the placard is not a requirement, police are asking people to tuck it out of sight inside the vehicle.

Police are also asking placard holders to keep a record of the registration number located on the placard in a separate location so they will have a number to provide to local authorities if stolen.