updated 4/18/2006 5:39:48 AM ET 2006-04-18T09:39:48

A man who said he bought a device that let him change traffic lights from red to green received a $50 ticket for suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal.

Jason Niccum of Longmont said the device, which he bought on eBay for $100, helped him cut his time driving to work.

“I guess in the two years I had it, that thing paid for itself,” he told the Daily Times-Call on Wednesday.

Niccum was issued a citation March 29 after police said they found him using a strobe-like device to change traffic signals. Police confiscated the device.

“I’m always running late,” police quoted Niccum as saying in an incident report.

The device, called an Opticon, is similar to what firefighters use to change lights when they respond to emergencies. It emits an infrared pulse that receivers on the traffic lights pick up.

Niccum was cited after city traffic engineers who noticed repeated traffic light disruptions at certain intersections spotted a white Ford pickup passing by whenever the patterns were disrupted.

City traffic engineer Joe Olson said engineers plan to update the city’s Opticon system this year to block unauthorized light-changing signals.

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