GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Grand Prairie police chief Daniel Scesney couldn't hold back his anger when addressing the media for the first time since the death of Officer Brandon Tsai.
Tsai, a 32-year-old who started with the department in January, died after crashing his police cruiser while trying to track down a car with a fake paper plate.
"This is a problem that is plaguing the entire state. Where violent offenders, burglars, car thieves are using the fictitious tags to conceal their identities and facilitate crime," Scesney during an update on Tuesday.
It is an issue state legislators and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles are very familiar with.
In April, the new head of the Texas DMV told lawmakers the production of fake temporary tags has greatly declined, but admitted more needs to be done.
Fraudulently dealers have had access to the state system and created thousands of fake temporary tags. Some small, fake dealers produced more car tags than large dealerships.
According to DMV records, a Houston auto shop called "Kasniels" sold 236,642 buyer tags from July 22, 2021, through November 8, 2021. Law enforcement in the area says it’s impossible for a dealership like that to sell more than 2,000 cars per day. Investigators believe the market street value of those tags is roughly $23 million.
"This is a systemic problem across the state of Texas we have fictitious tags all over the place and quite frankly it cost a cop his life. It's a problem," said Scesney on Tuesday. "This same tag had been captured on over 200 different vehicles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area."
He called on Texas lawmakers to do more to make a change.
"The system is broken. It is too easy to display a fictitious tag, and it is putting our officers in danger," he said.
The silver Chevy Malibu had the tag 0330S43 with an expiration date of Sept. 2022.
Scesney went on to call the estimate of the tag being used on 200 vehicles conservative.
"Don't worry somebody will print off a new one by the end of the day," Scesney said. "The tag is worthless there are hundreds of cars displaying this very tag."
A $10,000 reward is being offered by Grand Prairie Crimestoppers for information that leads to an arrest.