EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSome Feel License Plate Scanners Raise Privacy Concerns
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Dave Benton
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Jul. 28, 2013 5:27 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 28, 2013 11:45 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A Pennsylvania doctor accused of fatally poisoning his wife has been arrested, but the way he was caught is causing some controversy.
Robert Ferrante, 64, was arrested near Beckley on Thursday. His attorney said he plans to waive extradition at a hearing Monday.
Ferante left Florida to travel north, so he could turn himself in to authorities.
He was charged in the death of Autumn Marie Klein, 41, who died from cyanide poisoning.
Police caught Ferrante by using a license plate reader, a new device used to instantly check a driver's background information.
The device is a costly high tech tool, and it is helping catch criminals, but some are concerned that it is an invasion of privacy.
The license plate reader is constantly on the lookout for license plates associated with criminal activity, but the American Civil Liberties Union is crying foul on the new crime fighting tool.
Eyewitness News caught up with some motorists, who had mixed reactions.
"My vote is ‘yes’ for reading the license plates,” Cynthia Edward Pitts of Charleston said. “It helped catch that fugitive they had who was on the run, and it could probably do good with amber alerts, too. So, I'm all for it.”
Shawn Myers of Charleston said he didn’t think the scanners were a concern.
“It's not like they're telling anything deeply private about a person,” he said. “Just telling them the history of their records or if they're wanted, which is cool, I think.”
Corey Urban of Charleston felt the cameras could be used to target certain drivers.
“I have 2 DUI's and if they see that I'm driving fine and there’s nothing wrong with me because i don't drink anymore,” he said. “They see that and automatically think, ‘let's pull this guy over.’”
The device does not scan for dead plates or expired registration. Police said they're just looking for the big hits.
“It's none of their business, really.” Nick Fortney said. “It's America. We're losing our freedom every day, minute by minute. Got to get America back.”
The license plate readers cost around $20,000 each.
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