How a NYC taxi driver allegedly dodged $28,000 in tolls

Eric Pfeiffer

Rodolfo Sanchez, a 69-year-old cab driver, is facing multiple criminal charges after allegedly passing through New York City tollbooths more than 3,000 times without paying in a two-year period.

NBC New York reports that if true, Sanchez may have skipped out on some $28,000 in toll penalties.

"This type of behavior is egregiously unfair to the millions of honest motorists who pay tolls every day, and we will continue efforts to root out toll evaders and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief of Security Donald Look said in a statement.

So, how did the taxi driver manage to get through the Robert F. Kennedy Triborough Bridge tollgate barricades so many times before the MTA caught on? Apparently, he did so by tailgating the cars in front of him.

The New York Daily News says Sanchez told investigators he jumped the tollbooths because he needed money for his family. Nonetheless, prosecutors have charged him with third-degree larceny, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and theft of services, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

After MTA authorities noticed an "inactive" E-ZPass transponder was making regular passes through the pay zones, authorities were able to match surveillance video of Sanchez’s taxi with the corresponding inactive device.

Typically, drivers add funds to an E-ZPass account so that when their vehicle passes through a tollbooth, the required toll is automatically deducted from the account’s funds. In addition, the site DNAinfo reports that the transponder was actually reported lost back in 2010. However, it continued to send out a radio signal each time Sanchez passed through a toll station.

Authorities then compiled the inactive statistics, and found the cab apparently passed through the toll plaza 3,017 times over the past two years.

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