MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Criminals are getting creative across the Mid-South.
Police say fake drive out tags are getting more sophisticated and helping criminals escape.
"They are fictitious, they've got a bogus number,” said Capt. Joe Baker.
Memphis Police are dealing with the same problem.
A crime happens – they snag the surveillance video.
But when they check the license plate, the tag is nothing but a fake.
If there’s a demand, there will usually be a supplier.
On Facebook there are plenty of posts about fake temporary license plate tags.
“Who make drive out tags for $20," asked one man on social media.
“Drive out tags 30 bucks” offered another guy on Facebook.
It’s a market that criminals gravitate towards.
"We are seeing them more and more. If you go on Craigslist or a lot of the sites where you can purchase stuff,” said Captain Joe Baker with the West Memphis Police Department.
Baker’s department saw a huge spike in auto burglaries at the beginning of the year, but the criminals have been hard to catch.
"Generally we see a different car almost every time on these break-ins. So going and stealing another car then doing a series of breaking. Then getting rid of that car and the cycle continues, so to speak," said Capt. Baker.
The forged tags are hard to spot as well.
"I think they have gotten a bit more sophisticated. Because the tag has gotten a bit more sophisticated," said Capt. Baker.
"They are pretty smart, and that is part of the problem, they evolve," said one Arkansas resident.
Police can run temporary tags through a system. A lot of times though, Baker says the criminals head back across the bridge.
"Most of these are Memphis base criminals coming over and taking advantage of these easy interstate corridors, and then immediately going back," said Baker.
Now West Memphis officers are on the lookout for any suspect looking license plates.
"That’s something that we have established as a pattern now.
So there is cause for a stop if it looks like an illegitimate drive out tag," said Baker.
Baker told FOX13 his men and women will keep making traffic stops in hopes of stopping the
Facebook posts that allow criminals to speed off.
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