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updated: 7/10/2011 5:28 PM

Carpentersville ticket amnesty program brings nearly $3,700 in first week

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A week into its ticket amnesty program, Carpentersville has already collected $3,685, authorities said.

The one-time program, which began July 1 and concludes Aug. 15, gives people with outstanding tickets an opportunity to pay half of what they owe before the village ushers in significant penalties that include booting cars and suspending licenses for those with five and 10 unpaid tickets, respectively.

The program applies to tickets issued before July 1. The new punishments kick in Aug. 16.

Ed Dennis, the police chief's project coordinator, estimates the village is owed $930,000 from unpaid tickets going back four years.

"We want to clear at least a percentage of that," Dennis said, adding he's happy with what's been collected thus far. "Whatever we clear is money we would not have gotten."

The amnesty program has attracted all sorts of people. Some have come in saying they thought they'd paid a bill, only to find out they hadn't, so they settled up.

There was also a man who received a notice to appear in court because he owed $450 in unpaid tickets. Others have pointed out mistakes in tickets they'd already paid, but weren't properly recorded in the police records. A breakdown of those figures was not available last Friday.

Carpentersville promoted the program in several ways.

The village sent out 1,800 notices, reminding people of what they owe. Authorities also mailed out 35 notices to appear in court to people with several unpaid tickets.

Carpentersville also got creative, by parking a booted green Lexus in front of the police station June 29 to July 1. The car, which belongs to the department, received plenty of exposure because those were the days people were going to the station to buy their $25 vehicle sticker by the July 1 deadline, when the price went up to $50

"We want to get people's attention so that they're aware of what's going on, and they understand that there's some new things happening here," Dennis said.

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