Later, he heard the owner screaming at the staff inside, claiming that snow covered the handicapped icon on the pavement.

"I went back later and checked," Camm says. "There was a sign on a post. A lot of people don't seem to realize [disabled] people use gyms for rehab."

Some are thankful for his services. As Camm eyed the bank of spaces in front of Sears, a woman pulled in, struggled to get out of her SUV, and leaned on a cane.

Julie Hawkins of Annapolis, who has had six back surgeries, was in full compliance.

She said she has often had to call police to deal with people who were illegally parked. One woman without a tag even took up two spaces, she said, and shopped for several hours.

"When she came out, she even had an attitude about it," Hawkins said with a shake of the head. "It's not uncommon at all. Sad but true."

She told Camm to keep up the good work.

Lawrence, meanwhile, was conceding little. She insisted she was only there to pick up her disabled mother, whom she described as a military veteran and community leader.

Politely defiant, she jabbed a series of numbers into her cell phone, and in a few minutes, her mother — owner of the handicapped placard — emerged.

Evelyn Gray-Mason, 59, also of Glen Burnie, said she has lupus, which qualifies her for handicapped status, even though at times, like today, she can walk without difficulty.

She mentioned that she was slated to receive a humanitarian award at an NAACP banquet that very evening.

Still, how had she gotten to the mall? Mother and daughter said another driver had dropped her off that morning. Politely announcing they'd fight the citation in court, they drove away.

The leader of Operation HIDE watched them go.

"That was entertaining," Camm said. "I guess that could be the truth. Only they know for sure. At least they were nice about it."

jonathan.pitts@baltsun.com

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts