BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Adam White keeps an eye out for license plates as he moves around the city.
In mid-November, while commuting by bike, he says he saw piece of plastic covering part of the license plate on a car parked along Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. He removed it and was confronted by the driver.
“The piece serves no purpose. It was jammed up. I pulled it off. The gentleman came running out of the car,” White said.
The driver called police and White, who is a lawyer, was arrested for criminal mischief.
“Next thing, in handcuffs, ‘we’re putting you under arrest, hands behind your back.’ It was quite shocking. They claim that I damaged the plate, but there’s no damage to the plate,” he said.
His arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 1, but as the date approached, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced the case would not be prosecuted because of insufficient evidence.
White and others have been reporting to 311 and posting on social media when they see obscured license plates.
He does not advise people to touch the property of others, which could also be considered a crime.
They gathered on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall with some city and state elected representatives Thursday to make a statement and draw attention to the issue.
The MTA and Port Authority are monitoring fare and toll evasion. They say it adds up to nearly half a billion dollars a year.
The case was first reported by Streetsblog in November. The driver of the car was not cited or charged in the matter. White says he is considering a civil legal action against the driver.
It is against the law to obscure a license plate. Earlier in 2022, NYC Mayor Eric Adams worked with Amazon to prohibit the sale of certain license plate covers to addresses in the city.