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A New York City taxi driver is accused of avoiding bridge tolls more than 3,000 times in two years by tailgating cars in front of him and slipping through the tollbooth before the barrier came down, prosecutors said Thursday.
The 69-year-old driver, Rodolfo Sanchez, is charged with third-degree larceny, theft of services and fifth-degree possession of stolen property, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Authorities discovered him after noticing that an inactive E-ZPass tag was regularly crossing the RFK Bridge without paying. The bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, is actually made up of three bridges, a viaduct and 14 miles of approach roads that connect Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.
Upon further investigation, surveillance video was matched to that E-ZPass, showing a yellow cab tailgating closely behind the car in front of it, crossing through the tollbooth before the barrier came down.
Additional examination of the E-ZPass tag showed it had crossed the bridge 3,017 times between 2012 and 2014 without paying tolls, allegedly costing the MTA more than $28,000 in lost revenue.
"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," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief of Security Donald Look.
Sanchez was released on his own recognizance. His attorney did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.