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http://www.news14charlotte.com/content/local_news/mecklenburg/?SecID=3&ArID=60393

Devices claim to deceive cameras

4/14/2004 7:17 PM
By: Anjanette Flowers, News 14 Carolina

Click here to Play TV report.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Speed cameras will soon be monitoring how fast people drive on some Charlotte roads.

The cameras take a picture of a speeding car’s license plate so that police know where to send the $50 fine.

But some people have found a way to get around the new technology. Some Web sites are offering shields, sprays or reflectors that supposedly make license tags unreadable when the camera flashes.

Capt. Dave Haggist of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that people who are caught with such a device will be penalized much more than $50.

"If anyone does anything to obscure their license plate, something an officer could readily see, that's a violation of a statute,” Haggist said. “And of course, they will be subject to a $125 fine."

Haggist said officers can only enforce what they see with the naked eye, however.

"They cannot enforce something where they cannot say, ‘Hey, they're trying to conceal that tag,’" he said.

Driver Sean Tohill said he has seen the phantom plates before, but he is not convinced they actually work.

"I heard they really don't work because they have the same thing in England, security cameras on the street corner, and they can see through everything," Tohill said. “It’s a waste of money.”

There are thousands who disagree with Tohill and have ordered the products, which cost anywhere from $20 to $30 each.

Some drivers say it a price worth paying to avoid a $50 ticket. Others say they will skip the devices and just obey the speed limit.

"I have no reason to cover up my license plate,” driver Nancy Yemm said.

Speed cameras in Charlotte are expected to be up and running by early June. The CMPD will have 30 trained officers manning the cameras on 14 different roads. For a list of those roads, and the full legislation, click here.

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