Police struggle to keep up with illegal temp tags

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We found expired and sometimes fake temp tags that are not even close to legal. We found examples like expired for 67 days.  Another was 129 days past expiration (and those are some of the most recent).  Others include one 358 days expired and another 550 days past expiration.

We found too many to count.  Driver Zachary Markworth told us, “I`ve got multiple illegal temp tags.”

Markworth has been driving on them for more than a year.  He said, “I`ve been pulled over three times.”

Markworth wants to register his Kia and get a plate, but he says CarSpot in Webster Groves can’t give him the title.  Instead, he says a contact there named Dennis Latour gave him fake temps.  He showed us examples and said, “These are completely different VIN numbers from the one that I purchased.”  He pointed to another saying, “Then they changed the zip codes…”

Police officers see it daily.  We witnessed one officer tell a driver, “A counterfeit temp tag counts as a registration violation ok?”  North County Police Cooperative Officer Brian Sullivan found the driver also had a suspended driver`s license.  He told the person, “Good news is I'm not arresting you.  Bad news is you can`t drive.”

Then he found another bad temp tag driver who couldn't legally drive.  He told the driver, “You`ve got your phone right there.  Call somebody to come pick you up.”

Corporal Adam McIntyre told me he can`t remember working a shift without spotting a problem temp.  McIntyre said, “I see hundreds of fake temp tags all the time.  That`s one of the things that I look for.”

He says it`s too easy to fake.

They see someone else`s, they photocopy it, they change a couple numbers, they change the date and they just put it right on their car.”

He remembers one shift - seeing the same numbers on several fakes.  He explained, “The exact same temp tag on three different cars.”

St. Louis`s new Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards wants to start cracking down.  During last month`s public safety meeting he told alderman it could help reduce crime.  He said, “If vehicles are speeding on our streets with temp tags we ought to stop that.  We haven`t done that in a long time.”  Edwards added, “If we start to pull those kinds of cars over we will find that in the instances they`re stolen, we`ll find weapons inside of those cars.”

A recent Maryland Heights Police pursuit involved a car with a temp tag.  Corporal McIntyre said it`s not always the driver pulling the scam.  He said, “There are a couple small dealerships in the area where the people will say to me 'I just got this temp tag. I didn`t know it was fake.'”

Like Markworth, whose latest questionable tag expired 147 days ago.  He said, “I still don`t have the title.”

Now CarSpot is gone. A neighboring Webster Groves business says he hasn't seen anyone around for months.  So Markworth called Dennis Latour – again.  He told him, “I`m wondering where my title is.  I`ve paid off the loan on my car and I`m still waiting on it.

Latour answered, “Hey man I have no idea.”

Markworth didn't know Latour served jail time for fraud.  Latour told him he’d try to get him yet another temp tag.  He said, “Give me an hour.  I`m going to try to reach out to at least try to get you a temp tag from one of my dealer buddies.”

Markworth said Latour never got back to him until we got involved.  Now he has an appointment to finally get his title so he can get real plates.  Latour then told me he was just the manager at CarSpot and not the person who obtained all those temp tags.  Latour said he just passed them onto Markworth.

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