By Wyatt Goolsby
ODESSA - Holiday shoppers across the Basin should be on alert. The local Citizens On Patrol is out this month watching for all parking violations.
The Citizens On Patrol do a lot more than just write tickets. However this month, holiday shopping is a big reason why they're out watching people parking in handicapped spaces. On Thursday night, NewsWest 9 went to Target, HEB, and both Walmarts in Odessa.
The Citizens On Patrol said one of the most common problems they see is people parking in a handicapped spot, simply because they're in a hurry. They said if you don't have a plaque or sticker, it's still a violation and in Odessa that costs $300.00. One of the other big problems they spotted on Thursday night is people leaving their valuables, like a BlackBerry, just sitting on the dashboard.
"That's just an open door invitation for people to break into cars," Rene Barrientes, with Citizens On Patrol, said. "I've seen cell phones, I've seen wedding rings, I've seen jewelry, money. It's just right there in the open, and my advice is if you are going to go shopping, hide your charger, your phone, anything that is going to be seen and catch their eye, because it takes just a few seconds and all your valuables are gone."
On Thursday, officials wrote two citations and gave out a warning. They said if a person does have a wheelchair or a cane, they will give them the benefit of the doubt. Odessa Citizens On Patrol said this is the time of year they see more violations because of holiday shopping and because of the cold weather.