NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Toll cheaters and toll cheating scams cost the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey millions every year.
But as CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport found out Thursday, the latest scam is reminiscent of Bond – James Bond.
It’s as if he had license to cheat.
“I think this is the most ingenious,” Port Authority Police Deputy Chief Keith Walcott said.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond Reports
Walcott was referring to perhaps the most brazen way ever to cheat the E-ZPass system.
Police said on Saturday 36-year-old Nelson Vaquiz of Beaverdam, Va., at the helm of a big rig, pulled a tricky “now you see it, now you don’t” with his license plate at the George Washington Bridge toll to avoid paying the $65 fare, rigging up a system that flipped his license plate as he crossed through the gateless toll to avoid being photographed by cameras.
“He hooked a cable up to his license plate, which gave him the ability to, once he got into the toll lane, he could pull the cable. That would make his license plate go up where the toll cameras could not read it and he would drive through the lane,” Deputy Chief Walcott said.
“Once you pull the license plate up the E-ZPass toll camera cannot read our license plate, so there’s no way to trace the vehicle that just went through,” Deputy Chief Walcott said.
However, an eagle-eyed officer saw it all and the driver was pulled over and arrested.
Police said Vaquiz broke the law to be sure with his rigged license plate, but reaction among drivers Rapoport talked to Thursday was more like praise for the high-tech scofflaw.
“Where can I get one of those?” one person asked.
“I think he’s pretty smart actually, given the $65,” another said.
“I mean he broke the law. You gotta pay,” said another.
The Port Authority said it has lost $14 million to fare cheaters in a two-year period and now the message couldn’t be clearer.
The driver was charged with theft of service, possession of burglary tools and eluding arrest. He’s free on $5,000 bail.
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