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MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers Arrest Driver with Fake Georgia Plate Trying to Cross Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge

Bridges and Tunnels
Updated Apr 12, 2023 9:00 a.m.
Arrest During Toll Evasion Enforcement at Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge 4/11/23
Arrest During Toll Evasion Enforcement at Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge 4/11/23Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Officers Also Seize 63 Vehicles from Persistent Toll Violators in Two Days of Targeted Enforcement 

Latest Scofflaws Stopped on Two Bridges Account for over $1.5 million in Unpaid Tolls and Fees 

View Photos of Interdicted Vehicles 

View B-Roll Video of Enforcement on Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge 

View B-Roll Video of Enforcement on Bronx-Whitestone Bridge 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced Bridge and Tunnel Officers arrested a driver who was charged with possession of the forged instrument after trying to cross the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge with a fake Georgia license plate on his Mercedes Benz SUV. In addition, Bridge and Tunnel Officers stopped and seized a combined 63 vehicles registered to persistent toll violators on that bridge Tuesday, April 11 and on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge on Thursday, April 6. In total, the scofflaws accounted for over $1.5 million in unpaid tolls and fees. 

Violators stopped on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge April 11 alone owe $955,236, with a Lexus RX4 seized due to $86,111.82 owed in tolls and fees by a single owner, and the second highest persistent violator stopped Tuesday on that bridge owing $66.763.02 (1998 Honda Accord seized). 

“In addition to suspended registrations, we are focused on covered, obstructed, and counterfeit plates. These enforcement efforts are critical in securing toll revenue, but most importantly send a message to those who drive unregistered vehicles and those who are intent on breaking the law.” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Interim President Catherine Sheridan. “The effectiveness of these targeted operations is reflective of the successful collaboration that takes place between MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers and our law enforcement partners.”  

“In a perfect world, everyone pays their tolls – their fair share. If you pay your tolls, we won’t have to recommend DMV suspend your registration,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Vice President & Chief of Operations Richard L. Hildebrand II. “Bridge and Tunnel Officers are on the lookout for persistent toll violators and the bottom line is if you use fake plates, you may be arrested and if you don’t pay your tolls, we will pull you over and have your vehicle towed.”  

The agency has recovered more than 90% of the tolls owed by recidivist toll scofflaws since the inception of the DMV Registration Suspension Program. Bridge and Tunnel officers use specialized license plate readers that can identify motorists who are operating vehicles with a suspended registration due to unpaid tolls and use data-driven intelligence to place patterns of persistent toll violators.     

This enforcement is an expanded, ongoing coordinated strategy by the MTA, city and state law enforcement partners, which stemmed from a joint effort against obstructed and counterfeit license plates in 2022 through increased enforcement and by sharing information and best practices.   

Last year, the vehicles of 1,800 persistent toll violators were interdicted on MTA’s bridges and tunnels accounting for tens of millions of dollars in tolls and fees owed and more than 7,200 summonses were issued to drivers for fraudulent or obstructed plates that also expose drivers to arrest. 

MTA Bridges and Tunnels recorded 327 million crossings in 2022, three million shy from its all-time high of 330 million crossings in 2019, and a record in surplus toll revenue of nearly $1.2 billion dollars to support the MTA’s public transit services.  

Sign Up for E-ZPass 

Motorists can avoid violation fees and registration suspensions for unpaid tolls by paying their toll bills on time, using the award-winning Tolls NY free mobile application to pay tolls or manage their E-ZPass accounts. E-ZPass NY Customer Service Center account holders can save up to 40% at MTA Bridges and Tunnels tolled crossings by using E-ZPass. To set up an E-ZPass account or for more information, visit: www.ezpassny.com. NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits any covering or coating that intentionally conceals, obscures, or distorts an image of license plates.