Norristown police put brakes on 'boot-bashers'

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - August 16, 2010

Norristown started booting vehicles belonging to people with delinquent tickets about three years ago, but over the past few months, there have been an increasing number of those ticketed trying to detach the devices themselves.

Norristown Police Chief Russell Bono says the best part in these events is hearing the explanations given when investigators show up looking for their boot.

"One day their car's booted, the next day, it's in front of their house without a boot, and they claim, 'I don't know what happened. I don't know how that boot got off my car.' It's ridiculous," Bono said.

Norristown Police Officer Edward Rambo says he is not really sure what these people are thinking.

"Four of [the boots] have gone missing in the past three months with two people being charged criminally for the thefts, so far," Rambo said.

Some people have tried taking a blowtorch to the boots, others used a hacksaw.

The person who damaged another simply tried driving away with the device clamped onto the wheel, but he ended up doing more damage to his car than the boot.

In the end, local officials say you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you just pay or appeal your ticket as quickly as possible, because destroying a car boot in Norristown is going to cost you.

"The fines that we have been getting from the district justices are in the neighborhood of $500, plus restitution, so they still have to pay their tickets, anyways," Bono said.

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