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Who You Gonna Call? Hint, It's Not Ghostbusters

April 2022

The Baltimore County Police Department prides itself on it's "Fairness, Integrity, and Service". Over the past several years, Baltimore County communities have been inundated with abandoned autos cluttering up the communities, taking up precious parking spaces, or just being an eyesore in the community. Some are often seen as suspicious vehicles that may be possibly stolen, and discarded vehicles. Over the past year, Baltimore County Police has received 3,607 calls for service involving Abandoned Automobiles. The Wilkens Precinct handled - 366, Woodlawn Precinct - 636, Franklin Precinct - 389, Pikesville Precinct - 229. Officer Alisha Helphenstine, from the Woodlawn Precinct Community Outreach Team singularly handled 137 abandoned automobile reports over the past year.

What is an Abandoned Vehicle?

According to the Baltimore County Police, an abandoned vehicle is a vehicle that is parked on the public road without current, or valid registration, or a vehicle that is inoperable. Vehicles may be towed, issued a parking citation, or both.


(a)Prohibited. A person may not park an unregistered vehicle or a vehicle with an expired registration on a public road, highway, street, avenue, or alley or on private property used by the public in general.

(b)Authority to remove. The Chief of Police may:

(1)Take possession of and remove a vehicle parked in violation of this section by means of county equipment or by contract; and

(2)Cause a vehicle that is removed to be stored either on county property or on private property by contract.

(1988 Code, § 21-104) (Bill No. 47, 1990, § 1, 5-25-1990; Bill No. 66-01, § 2, 7-1-2004; Bill No. 70-08, § 2, 8-17-2008)

Vehicles Offered For Sale

In more than too many instances, vehicles without registration plates, invalid, or not current registration plates are placed in the communities by residents operating an unauthorized mechanics shop, or illegal car sales business in zoned residential areas. This has been a constant nuisance to many communities across the county.


(a)Prohibition. A person may not park a vehicle on a county road, highway, street, or alley, or any adjacent right-of-way for the primary purpose of sale unless otherwise allowed by the Baltimore County Zoning Regulations.(b)Parking in front of residence authorized. This section does not prohibit a person from parking a vehicle for the purpose of sale if the vehicle is titled in the person's name and is parked in front of the person's residence.

(c)Civil penalty.

(1)A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $200 for each day a violation occurs.

(2)The Code Official shall enforce the provisions of this section in accordance with Article 3, Title 6 of the Code.

(1988 Code, §§ 21-103.1, 21-117) (Bill No. 32-99, § 1, 7-5-1999; Bill No. 73-03, § 24, 7-1-2004)

What you should do

Whenever someone suspects a vehicle of being parked illegally, abandoned, or stolen, and the vehicle is parked on public property, contact 9-1-1 or the nonemergency number 410-887-2222 immediately. Callers can remain anonymous. Do not wait. Calling the local precinct desk, or the Community Outreach Team, often presents an unnecessary delay in response, as opposed to a patrol unit working the area at the time. The situation may also require immediate response.

If you believe a residence is being used as an unauthorized car sales business, or mechanic shop, you should lodge a complaint with the Baltimore County Code Enforcement by calling 410-887-3351 or emailing You may also file a complaint online by clicking the link In addition to contacting Code Enforcement, the police may be contacted in regards to untagged, expired tags, or inoperable vehicles parked on the public street.

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