A Long Island City cabdriver has been charged with stealing more than $28,000 in toll payments from the MTA, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Rodolfo Sanchez, 69, allegedly crossed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge more than 3,000 times since 2012 without paying by “piggybacking” behind other cars, Brown said.
MTA, which is handling the investigation and manages the crossings, did not reveal just how many people beat the toll in this manner, which is similar to someone getting into a subway turnstile with an innocent rider.
MTA spokesman Judie Glave said we don’t encourage people to try this.
Authorities said Sanchez was never caught while committing the act. Instead, authority investigators said they knew someone was using an E-ZPass that had no money was able to get through time and time again. Using the E-ZPass tracking data, which was reported lost back in 2011 according to prosecutors, they found it was used more than 1,000 times on the bridge and more than 3,000 times in the tunnel.
Authorities connected the E-ZPass through the toll plaza video. It was still sending out a signal and was used in various cabs, which the taxi company was able to tie to Sanchez. Glave said Sanchez kept the pass as a front to passengers and toll takers, which is what finally led them to charge Sanchez. Taxi drivers must have an E-ZPass in their vehicle at all times.
If convicted, Sanchez could face up to seven years in prison.