Orlando police crack down on illegal use of disabled parking permits

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando police said they want to crack down on people using someone else's handicapped parking permit to illegally park and go out downtown.

Eyewitness News has discovered that police officers are taking extreme measures to stop the problem, including arresting people.

Judith Beal is part of a growing number of people who are accused of using someone else's disabled parking permit to get front row parking for a night of fun downtown.

While violators are usually slapped with a fine, police have the option to make an arrest and Thursday morning they did just that.

"If that's the only way people are going to learn, that's what they got to do," said driver Megan Haw.

Police spotted Beal's Chevrolet parked in a downtown handicapped spot at 2:30 a.m. and they were suspicious. Officers decided to run the tag that was hanging in her window and realized it belonged to a person in their 80's who had died months ago.

When authorities started to tow Beal's car, they said she ran over from downtown screaming at the officers. Beal was placed under arrest and hauled off the jail.

"I think it's extreme," said driver Erika Ceballos.

WFTV first reported about officers cracking down on the issue in 2012 when an Orlando woman was arrested for using her dead grandmother's permit.

Orlando police couldn't say exactly how many arrests they have made since then, but said they have no problem doing it.