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MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers, NYPD and Law Enforcement Partners Seize 193 Vehicles During Joint Enforcement Operations Focusing on Ghost Plates and Persistent Toll Violators

Bridges and Tunnels
Updated May 2, 2024 6:15 p.m.
B&T Interdiction 5-1-2024

Officers Make 56 Arrests and Issue 1,381 Summonses

Actions Include Arrest of Out-of-State Individual Wanted for Forgery Another Wanted for Robbery

Interagency Scofflaw Operations at Robert F. Kennedy, George Washington, Willis Avenue, and Third Avenue Bridges and Queens-Midtown, Lincoln and Holland Tunnels

View Photos of Seized Vehicles

View Video B-Roll Footage of Enforcement Efforts


Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels (MTA B&T) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), along with regional law enforcement partners today announced the results of two interagency task force operations to remove ghost vehicles, remove covered or obstructed license plates and crack down on persistent toll violators. Officers positioned at seven bridges and tunnels seized 193 vehicles, made 56 arrests and issued 1,381 summonses.

The interagency operation included New York State Police, Port Authority Police, New York City Sherriff’s Office, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The interagency enforcement also welcomed New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) Police and MTA Police Department Highway Patrol, who will now join these coordinated operations, which has now expanded to a combined eight law enforcement agencies.

A wide range of vehicles were seized during the two-day effort including a Mercedes, a Lucid, a Lexus, multiple motorcycles and scooters and an extra-large pick-up truck. A Bentley was pulled over and cited for an obstructed license plate. 

The scofflaws had amassed more than $1,228,000 in unpaid tolls and fees, judgments and debts. They were stopped for a variety of infractions included unpaid tolls, driving unregistered vehicles and driving with suspended licenses. The operations took place on Monday, April 29, and Wednesday, May 1 and included the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy, Willis Avenue, Third Avenue and George Washington Bridges as well as the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels.

“The success of our 10th enforcement operation illustrates the seamless coordination with our law enforcement partners,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Catherine Sheridan. “The evolution and expansion of operations across our regional bridges and tunnels, sends a clear message that if you break the law on our roads you will be caught, prosecuted, and your vehicle may be towed.”

“Collectively, the NYPD and our multiagency task force partners refuse to take our foot off the gas in addressing the many ‘ghost cars’ and unlawful drivers on New York City roadways,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “Our unannounced enforcement initiatives have proven extremely fruitful since the start of operations in mid-March, with 618 vehicles seized, 142 arrests made, and 4,247 summonses now issued for assorted violations. More than $5.2 million in unpaid tolls and other outstanding judgments also now stand to be collected. We will consider none of this a victory, however, until every motorist understands that there are no more free rides.”

“These enforcement opportunities continue to produce results, with dozens of arrests made, hundreds of vehicles seized and people trying to scam the system by evading tolls being held responsible,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “I commend the efforts of our New York City and New York State law enforcement partners as they keep working for the taxpayers of New York and keep our roads safe for everyone.”

“The joint operations have proven to be successful in combating illegal ghost car activity and sending a strong message in support of the mayor’s public safety initiative,” said New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda.

"The Port Authority, alongside our partners in this multi-agency task force, remains firm that toll cheats won't fly," said Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar. "For those who still haven't gotten the message: our patrols are constant, and our vigilance is unwavering against drivers who think they can cheat the system with defaced or fraudulent license plates. It's not a matter of if, but when they'll be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers seized 2,731 vehicles in 2023, a 46.6% increase from 2022.  More than 1,000 vehicles have been seized in 2024 for non-payment of tolls.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels, through tolls and fees collected, has recovered more than 98% of the tolls owed by recidivist toll scofflaws since the inception of its DMV Registration Suspension Program.

This enforcement aligns with a coordinated strategy by MTA B&T and City and State law enforcement partners who announced a joint effort against obstructed and counterfeit license plates last year. Since the start of Open Road Tolling, Bridge and Tunnel officers have interdicted almost 10,000 vehicles for persistent non-payment of tolls.

Motorists can avoid violation fees and registration suspensions 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 at least 25% at MTA B&T 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.