Maryland teens reportedly have found a new use for a speed-camera program launched last year in that state's Montgomery County.
According to an online "exclusive" in the Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper, high school students in the area came up with a game called speed-camera "pimping" to send photo-enforcement tickets to teachers or other students.
The teens simply take a digital photo of the target vehicle's license plate, tape a color printout of the plate over the license plate of another vehicle and speed past a photo-enforcement van. The victim then receives the ticket in the mail.
The article is getting wide play in cyberspace today on blogs and news sites, but in fact it is fairly weak on the credibility front.
Written by one of the paper's part-time contributors Joe Slininka, the article bases this tale on a single anonymous parent of a Montgomery County teen. And suspiciously, the parent seems to have a bias against photo enforcement, judging by his or her comment that "our civil rights are being exploited" by the cameras.
Cops haven't heard of the prank. One prinicipal interviewed by the reporter said he'd heard about it -- from a parent. (Maybe it was the same parent).
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You'd think the photo-enforcement company would know by looking at the picture that some teenager's beater car isn't the vehicle registered to the person getting the ticket. But the parent quoted in the article explains that the teens are "obtaining" lookalike vehicles to help carry out the prank. It seems unlikely the average teen would go to that much trouble.
Amusing, but we're betting it's a nascent urban legend.
On the other hand, if anyone has ever tries something like this with vans or fixed-camera sites around the Valley, please let us know. -- Ray Stern