Monday, June 23, 2008

Cardboard license plate leads to man's arrest (Asbury Park Press)

Cardboard license plate leads to man's arrest

By Matt Pais • STAFF WRITER • June 23, 2008

LAKEHURST — A 26-year-old Asbury Park man was arrested Saturday night after police learned the Pennsylvania license plate on his car was a cardboard fake, authorities said.

The Mitsubishi Gallant driven by Armando A. Alfaro-Hernandez was pulled over at 7:45 p.m. after Officer Michael Rodriguez ran the car's license plates through a mobile data terminal in his police cruiser and learned the car was unregistered.

During a roadside investigation, Alfaro-Hernandez admitted being an unlicensed driver, Sgt. Ronald Heinzman said. Later, Rodriguez removed a plastic cover from the car's license plate and found the tag to be a color photocopy of an actual license plate.

"It looks exactly like a real plate, and it was under this clear plastic lens," Heinzman said. "It was just a flimsy piece of cardboard — a knockoff."

Alfaro-Hernandez was charged with third-degree fraud for possessing a stolen document and hindering his apprehension for initially providing police with a false name, police said. Heinzman said police found multiple motor-vehicle summonses in the car issued under different names and later learned Alfaro-Hernandez was wanted on a $339 warrant issued by the Allenhurst Municipal Court.

The driver was also issued motor-vehicle summonses for being an unlicensed driver, having an uninsured vehicle and an unregistered vehicle, and possessing a fraudulent identification card, police said. He was transferred to Ocean County Jail in Toms River, where he was being held Saturday in lieu of $2,500 bail.

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement was later notified because Alfaro-Hernandez is an undocumented alien. ICE is expected to place a no-bail detainer on Alfaro-Hernandez, Heinzman said.

Heinzman and Special Officer Jennifer Emer assisted Rodriguez at the scene.

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