ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The mayor of St. Charles says a program to have citizens take pictures of vehicles with illegal temp tags and send them to the city is going far better than he anticipated.

The illegal tags are a result of people who fail to pay sales taxes on recently purchased vehicles. Mayor Dan Borgmeyer says he got so many complaints from residents about the expired tags that he decided to do something.

Borgmeyer put out the request at the end of August. Since then?

“It’s going amazingly; we’re stunned. We’re over 1,500 (reports) right now,” he said. “We’ve identified…it looks like somewhere around the 20% mark are from the City of St. Charles; the rest are all over the place.”

Borgmeyer said he didn’t have the police manpower to go after the temp tag violators, so soliciting help from the public was the next best thing.

The State of Missouri passed a law that allows auto dealers to collect the sales tax at the point of purchase, and send that money to the state. However, it’s going to take about two years to implement that law.

Mayor Borgmeyer believes his plan will work just fine in the meantime. St. Charles Police Chief Ray Juengst said his department can track down the drivers with expired temporary tags.

“Basically, through the photos. And then we go through our computer systems and try to run them down,” he said. “A lot of that is through the administrative end of it, as far as identifying them. Does the temp tag match the vehicle? Does the vehicle come back right? Color, make, model; things like that.”

Mayor Borgmeyer said St. Charles is not alone in using citizens to track down temp tag violators.

“I recently attended a meeting with…all the mayors of the larger cities in St. Louis. I explained our situation to them, they all applauded it. I said, ‘Guys, if you want them, I’ll send you yours,'” he said.