Latest in parking fraud shows up in windshields |

Latest in parking fraud shows up in windshields

Janet Urquhart
An undoctored parking pass shows the month, day and year it was used. Some motorists always "think they can beat the system," says parking director Tim Ware.

The never-ending cat-and-mouse game between the Aspen Parking Department and the public has produced yet another variation in the attempt to get more than a day’s worth of parking from a daily parking pass.The latest in doctored passes has caught the attention of parking director Tim Ware and his staff. In other words, they’re on to it.

The $5 parking pass allows the purchaser to leave a vehicle in a residential zone all day long without worrying about a parking ticket or shuffling the vehicle around every two hours. The scratch-off pass works like a scratch-off lottery game – the user scratches the silvery-colored film off the month, date and year for the day they want to use it. Beneath the coating, the month, date and year appears in yellow.In the past, the artistically inclined have painted the gray circle and date back over a scratched-off date so they can scratch off another date and use the pass again. Others have cut out the circle of a used date and placed another pass with that date intact behind it. Now, folks are gluing an unused scratch-off date from an old pass onto the top of a used pass in an attempt to get another use out of it, Ware said.

“People are putting a lot of work into a five-dollar pass,” he said. “This comes in waves. Somebody finds a way they think they can beat the system and they tell all their buddies about it,” he said. “They think they’re onto something that we haven’t seen before, but we have.”Typically, the altered passes aren’t all that difficult to spot through a windshield if a parking officer looks closely. But, if an enforcement officer glances briefly at a doctored pass, it might escape notice.

An officer can write a $100 ticket on the spot when a vehicle sports an altered pass, or the case can wind up in municipal court, where a judge imposes the punishment for the attempted fraud.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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