Newport News Sheriff's Office recover unpaid taxes with plate scanners

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Sheriff's Office is using license plate readers to recover nearly $92,000 in personal property taxes.

The scanners, which came from a federal grant to use the technology to find stolen vehicles, are equipped on six vehicles. They automatically scan license plate numbers and check them against a database of delinquent tax accounts.

After verification with the Treasurer's Office, the deputy either instructs the owner in payment on the spot or places a sticker on the car and takes the plates. If the payment isn't made in three days, the car gets towed.

"Getting unpaid taxes into city coffers helps reduce the burden on citizens who pay on time," said Sheriff Gabe Morgan. "The city can't pay for services and the functioning of government without tax dollars."

Several vehicles seized for non-payment were due to be auctioned in early 2016.