The San Jose Mercury News
reports that California's newest crime may be stolen yellow carpool stickers from hybrid vehicles.
The Department of Motor Vehicles says it's receiving two to three dozen requests a month for replacement stickers from hybrid owners who say they've been ripped off. Thieves, these drivers theorize, are peeling off their yellow carpool decals in hopes of selling them.
The decals became more valuable after the state closed the door on hybrid-exemption stickers in January, stopping after 85,000 owners of the clean-burning, high-mileage vehicles were given access to fast-moving diamond lanes. Since then, it appears some crooks have found a new opportunity to make a few bucks, according to a recent article published in the Mercury News
Someone put an offering on eBay in February seeking $10,000 for an extra set of carpool stickers sent mistakenly by the DMV (there were no takers and the ad was removed). And a story last month in USA Today reported that hybrids with carpool stickers are selling for as much as $4,000 more than those without the decals.
Similar to registration tags, the carpool stickers are treated chemically so they crumble apart if tampered with, DMV spokesman Mike Miller told the Mercury News
. Additionally, the word "void" appears on the faces of stickers that get peeled.