WICHITA, Kan.-- Four years ago Gary Hart broke his neck. Nerve damage left him unable to walk normally. He uses his handicap placard to park close to where he needs to be. However, several days ago, someone stole that privilege.
"Very sad and angry," said Hart. "Especially for the handicapped. It's like stealing a wheelchair."
Gary's not alone. So far this year, police records show nearly 1100 handicapped placards or tags have been stolen. Last year that number was 1500, a trend police are concerned about.
"There are people who have tried to get them, but didn't, so they want to steal others to get close up parking," said Lt. Doug Nolte.
He says there's a black market for the passes especially in big cities where it's hard to find parking. It can also cost a pretty penny to reserve a spot. Nolte says stealing those placards is shameful. Gary Hart agrees.
"The really terrible thing is the thieves don't care," said Hart. "They cost the victims more money than they get."