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Harford deputies cracking down on handicapped parking frauds

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 06:53:59-05

Several handicapped shoppers in Harford County are fed up with people taking their parking spots.

The sheriff's office is hearing their complaints. Deputies say it happens year round, but once a year -- during the holidays

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"They don't have a concern for the people who actually need those spots," Major William Davis said. 

He and other deputies with the Harford County Sheriff's Office are asking drivers who don't need to park in handicapped spaces to fight the temptation or a face a fine. 

"We get complaints all year long in reference to people violating handicap parking spaces. It's always a priority for us. During the holidays, we put an extra special effort out for it," Davis said.

Shoppers with disabilities are fed up with people taking spots designated for them. 

"People that are handicapped are handicapped for a reason and they need the spots and it's not correct for people to do that," Diana Wingerd, one shopper, said. 

RELATED: Tips to apply for disabled parking placards, avoid fines

"It's very difficult for some people who are handicapped to get to the store and a lot of times people that take those places up and the handicapped have to park far away and it's very difficult," Lorraine Deitz, another shopper, said. 

Davis says in just one day his deputies talked to 129 people who parked in handicapped spaces at different big box stores throughout the county. 

19 people were using fake placards -- another six weren't using any sign altogether. 

"What we do on these initiatives is every single person that parks into the handicap spot, we'll approach them and have a conversation on whether or not they're legitimately parking in a spot or not," Davis said. 

It's an approach that seems to be working. 

"A lot of people need those parking spaces and if they need them, they're there for them unless someone parks it illegally. I think they should think twice before parking there," a shopper said. 

"We want to make sure that people who live in Harford County, who have disabilities, are able to get to the shopping centers and get to the stores to be able to do what they need to do during the holiday season," Davis said. 

All of the violators the sheriff's office spotted were fined between $120 and $140.