Why are Iowa license plates invading Ditmas Park West?

The residents of Ditmas Park West have noticed a large number of cars with Iowa license plates in their neighborhood.  Credit: Amy Hackett
The residents of Ditmas Park West have noticed a large number of cars with Iowa license plates in their neighborhood.
Credit: Amy Hackett

Residents of Ditmas Park West in Brooklyn are not happy about the omnipresence of Iowa license plates in their neighborhood.

Joel Siegel, president of the Ditmas Park West Neighborhood Association, doubts that there has been a sudden surge in visiting relatives from Iowa in the 13-square-block neighborhood. Instead, Siegel has pointed to a nearby rental car company that owns the vehicles.

Siegel told Metro that parking has become more difficult recently in the attractive neighborhood with Victorian houses and tree-lined streets.

“We enjoy the fact that we can park on the street,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a parking lot for some rental car business.”

Siegel, a lawyer, sent a letter to several government agencies in Iowa and New York expressing his concern. The Iowa Department of Transportation is investigating the car rental business, according to the Eastern Iowa Gazette.

Major Paul Steier of the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement in Iowa hinted to the Gazette that the situation may be more sinister than it seems.

“Human trafficking, drugs, you name it. It’s still an active investigation,” he told the Gazette. The NYPD would not confirm any investigation or illegal activity.

Resident Amy Hackett told Metro that she and her neighbors noticed the cars especially because of their out-of-place plates.

“You find the occasional out-of-state cars, but it’s unusual to have cars from Iowa under any circumstances,” she said. “When people shared notes we very soon found out that these cars were rental cars owned by this outfit that doesn’t bother to pay for its own parking lot. It just uses public space to run its business.”

Hackett said at one point, she noticed as many as eight cars with Iowa plates on one block.

She also said that many of these cars do not fall in line with alternate side parking rules, making it even more difficult for residents to park. She said tickets will sit on the windshields untouched for as long as a week.

Siegel said Ditmas Park West is the closest neighborhood to the listed address of the car rental business, which may be why so many of the cars with Iowa license plates park in the neighborhood. According to Hackett, neighbors are eager to see what the Iowa Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement turns up on the cars.

“We’re very intrigued now that people are on the case,” she said. “One can only assume it’s to avoid paying insurance or something like that, but presumably the folks in Iowa are concerned that they may be up to something that’s even more problematic.”

An employee at 25dollarcarrental.com, one of the names of the car rental business, offered no comment.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…