Watch out Chicagoans.
The City Clerk's office is beginning to play hardball when it comes to counterfeit Chicago city stickers.
Monday afternoon, City Clerk Miguel del Valle announced that his office is taking aggressive steps to identify counterfeit city stickers and penalize these offenders.
The clerk's office has the authority to impound vehicles with fraudulent city stickers and imposes fines that are a minimum of $765 ($500 fine + $115 late sticker fee + $150 tow fee).
"This is a simple issue of fairness," stated City Clerk del Valle via a press release. "We all bear the responsibility, through purchasing a city sticker, for patching potholes and fixing our city streets. By purchasing a fraudulent city sticker, these people are skirting our shared responsibility which will not be tolerated by my office."
So far this year, investigators for the City Clerk's office have impounded 30 vehicles with counterfeit city stickers and ticketed an additional five that escaped by driving away before they could be towed according to Deputy Director Jay Rowell.
There is a strict procedure for towing vehicles with fraudulent city stickers. If a City Clerk inspector suspects a city sticker is counterfeit visually, they then confirm it by checking their records against the suspected vehicle.
Mr. Rowell explained the Clerk's Office has seven full-time investigators who will cover the entire city, block by block over the course of the year searching for city sticker scofflaws. As of October 1, these seven have written 28,063 tickets for failure to display city sticker violations.
Mr. del Valle is also trying to find a way to find the funding to move to a "print-on-demand" city sticker. An encrypted barcode, along with the vehicle's license plate number, would be printed on each city sticker. This would allow cops, P.E.A.'s, City Clerk's inspectors and other ticket writers to check if the sticker is valid and make city stickers much more difficult to counterfeit.
The City Clerk's website has a handy-dandy guide to help you identify counterfeit city stickers.