We’re moving to shut down the sale of illegal license plate covers

This past week, I announced that my Office is cracking down on a set of products used by criminals to avoid police investigations: illegal license plate covers.

A few months ago, I was at a town hall with Police Chief Scott, who was asked about drivers fleeing crime scenes and dangerous sideshows. He mentioned that on several online marketplaces, anyone could buy a cover to hide their license plate, which prevents law enforcement from identifying drivers involved in a wide range of criminal activities.

With simple online searches, my team found a variety of license plate covers — ranging from simple covers that obscure or wrap around a plate to more sophisticated versions that use a remote control to electronically lower a drop-down cover with the press of a button. 

In addition to being used in sideshows, thefts and robberies, illegal license plate covers have also been used to avoid toll plazas, red light cameras, and automated speed enforcement.

These products are illegal to use or sell in California.  When we visited major online retailers, we found many product descriptions and user reviews that openly describe how buyers use them to evade law enforcement.

Showing of reviews that say "Works well for running from cops!"

My office sent cease-and-desist letters to four of the biggest online retailers – Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Etsy – all of whom have policies stating that they restrict sales by third parties of illegal products.  After our letters were sent, the retailers have already started removing these products. 

I want to thank Chief Bill Scott and the San Francisco Police Department for working with my Office to stem the sale of these illegal products.  If you know of other illegal products being sold through online retailers or marketplaces, please let us know at our web portal. Together, we can make our streets safer and hold lawbreakers accountable. 
You can read more about our efforts in the NY Times.