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Police chief resigns when confronted about his involvement in “mock tickets”

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – Former Moline Acres Police Chief Cliff Ware has resigned. He told Fox 2 News he was signing “mock tickets,” but that's not what we found during a Fox Files investigation. There were thousands of $125 speeding tickets mailed out to residents. Karen Dunman got four of them.

“Well, I would’ve paid them,” she said. “Everyone here told me not to.”

Two of her tickets arrived for different days, but for the same offense.

“Yes, same time. They just have a different payment date,” Dunman said.

Then her boss noticed another that seemed made up.

“They’re giving her tickets for times she wasn’t even driving,” said Rick Phillips.

Phillips said he can prove she was sitting at her desk during the time on one ticket. He runs All American Painting Company, right across from a speed trap. He drove by the unmarked security car to get video to warn others. The vehicle was registered to Public Safety First Partners, a company that staked out North Hanley for Kinloch and Natural Bridge Road for Uplands Park, while having former Moline Acres Police Chief Cliff Ware sign many of the tickets.

Fox 2 News learned from Ware that the tickets demanding payment were just pretend. Ware called them “mock tickets.” Uplands Park and Kinloch even called them “warnings,” but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at them.

So why would a police chief in one town get involved with speed traps in another municipality? The Fox Files obtained a document which offers a clue. It's Colonel Cliff Ware's resume from 2015. He listed a current employer as Automated Transportation Enforcement Solutions (ATES ). Ware listed that he was paid by “commission” and supervised by John Baine, the man behind the security cop radar operation.

Baine told Fox 2 News in April that his critics were all wrong about the speed trap operation.

“They have an agenda and what we offer the small communities is an opportunity for equal protection,” he said.

Baine said his operation makes citizens safer and even saves them money.

“The real bill is when you’re pulled over by a police officer. It’s more expensive to be pulled over -- and dangerous is the other issue,” he said.

Attorneys Hugh Eastwood and Bevis Schock successfully sued another municipality over unmanned speed cameras.

“They’re constantly pushing the limits and they get away with it by and large because most people would rather pay the $100 than fight city hall,” Eastwood said. “They have nothing else better to do than to target the poorest, because the poorest are the least able to fight the ticket.”

Eastwood even calls the documents tickets, because everything about them says to pay.

“It is the honest citizen who believes in the rule of law who suffers. The scofflaw does not,” Schock said.

The tactic reminds Schock of the federal law set up to break up the mafia.

“The public thinks it’s a fine. That’s extortion,” he said.

Meanwhile, both Uplands Park and Kinloch said the tickets they’ve mailed have been rendered void. Fox 2 News wants to hear from you to see if you have any problems getting a refund.