WASHINGTON (AP) β€” Transportation officials say the shortage of parking spaces in the Washington area has led to a growing problem of drivers buying fake or stolen handicapped parking permits.

The Washington Examiner reports there’s a black market for stolen or counterfeit handicapped parking permits in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Prince George’s County police say burglars smashed car windows in a neighborhood in Suitland, Maryland, on May 2. They were stealing handicapped permits rather than valuables and car electronics.

It wasn’t the first such case: In 2009, police arrested a 19-year-old Temple Hills man who had 19 stolen parking permits.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration encourages motorists to report permits as lost or stolen so police can determine if a permit is being used legitimately.

(Β© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)