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1,540 vehicles impounded, 339 arrests made so far in toll evasion crackdown, MTA says

MTA making progress in battle against toll evaders
MTA making progress in battle against toll evaders 02:44

NEW YORK -- The MTA's campaign against people who try to evade bridge tolls has now claimed more than 1,500 vehicles, and also brought charges against the people who use bogus plates to try to trick the system.

A sign on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge doesn't mince words. It says "Counterfeit plates illegal," and adds the law will be '"strictly enforced." MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber made it perfectly clear Tuesday who police are targeting.

"Toll deadbeats and people who use fake and obstructed plates to rip off millions of New Yorkers who play by the rules," Lieber said.

Multi-agency approach appears to be working   

Toll evasion is a whopping $50 million yearly problem for the MTA, which is why officials are bragging about the success of their multi-agency crackdown.

More than two dozen separate operations have resulted in 1,540 vehicles impounded, more than 12,000 summonses issued, and 339 arrests.

On the Bronx-Whitestone, RFK and Williamsburg bridges, as well the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the several Port Authority bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey, they go after cars whose drivers use piles of tickets to obscure their vin numbers to thwart police, or use either obscured plates or ghost plates, or have suspended licenses.

"One of us is gonna get you"

Lieber reiterated the MTA and its law enforcement partners will not be deterred.

"If you have a ghost plate or some kind of covering on your licensee plate, please take it off. You're gong to be stopped by one of these great agencies. One of us is gonna get you," Lieber said.

Officials say that they collect 98% of the millions of dollars in unpaid tickets that the cars rack up. And if you don't pay up, they say they will sell the cars, many of which are high end.

Law enforcement sources say drivers may not want to just pay what they owe because they could have something to hide. Officers have found guns in some of the cars and sometimes they find the drivers have outstanding warrants out for their arrest for other crimes.

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