More than 50 disabled parking tags were confiscated by Hartford police at the last two concerts at Xfinity Theatre because people who are not disabled were attempting to park in dozens of handicap spaces.
Hartford police said they got all kinds of excuses when they did an informal compliance check at Sunday’s Zac Brown Band concert, where thousands were in attendance.
Lt. Paul Cicero oversees the department’s Major Crimes Division.
“We recovered 37 tags from this last show and 15 tags from the previous show," he told NBC Connecticut.
The Xfinity Theatre, according to Hartford police, waives a $60 parking fee for those who need the spaces. That prompts people to misuse tags or use fake tags. Some are expired. Some are just photocopies of tags.
“I think it’s a good thing it’s being checked out. By the time the handicap people get there the spots are all filled,” said Estella Clark of Hartford. Clark holds a valid parking permit that she uses while shopping.
Using the tags illegally takes spaces and resources away from the people who actually need it.
“They’re coming in with these tags that did not belong to them, or they were expired, or the individual was deceased and what not, passing the point of payment by showing these tags,” Cicero explained.
“I think it’s very wrong. It should be used properly. I use it for my mom, myself, my daughter. We all have had problems in our lives. Give it a fair shake,” Cheryl Harold said.
Fines and charges can get pricey, to the tune of hundreds of dollars.
“If you utilize a tag that is not yours and park in a parking spot it could be $300.00 in infractions,” Cicero said.
Police are returning the placards to the Department of Motor Vehicles who will return the legitimate tags to their rightful owners. DMV officials said misusing a tag can have consequences for the permit holder as well.
“Disabled parking permits are for the exclusive use of the person with the disability and grants permission to park in reserved spaces. If the permit holder allows another driver to misuse it, the Department of Motor Vehicles may revoke the permit or deny renewal,” explained Jim Carson, a DMV spokesperson.