Cabbie Got 3,000 Free Rides Across Bridge by Tailgating Other Cars, DA Says

By Gustavo Solis on April 18, 2014 9:04am 

 A cabdriver cheated the MTA out of $28,000 by crossing the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge 3,000 times without paying a dime, according to the Queens County District Attorney's Office.
A cabdriver cheated the MTA out of $28,000 by crossing the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge 3,000 times without paying a dime, according to the Queens County District Attorney's Office.
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Flickr/Daniel Dudek-Corrigan

QUEENS — A city cabdriver cheated the MTA out of $28,000 by crossing the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge 3,000 times without paying a dime, according to the Queens District Attorney's Office.

For two years, Rodolfo Sanchez, 69, of Long Island City, would tailgate vehicles crossing the bridge and sneak through the toll before the barrier came down, prosecutors said. He was arraigned on grand larceny and theft of services charges Thursday, according to court records.

“This type of behavior is egregiously unfair to the millions of honest, motorists who pay tolls every day," said Donald Look, chief of security for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. "We will continue efforts to root out toll evaders and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Sanchez allegedly used an E-Z Pass that had been reported lost in 2010. Although the pass was inactive, it still emitted signals while crossing the toll, prosecutors said. That's how investigators discovered the scam, the DA said.

Investigators looked through security footage and noticed the yellow cab drive through tolls without paying. They contacted Sanchez's employers to match up dates he worked with footage showing him piggybacking on cars traveling through the toll plaza.

The cabbie told investigators that he knew there was no money in the E-Z Pass but used it anyway because he needed the money for his family, prosecutors said.

Sanchez was arraigned Thursday at Queens Criminal Court. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison, according to the DA.

His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

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