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Three Truckers Charged at GWB in Separate Incidents

Port Authority police arrested a New York man, a Florida man and a driver from Massachusetts at the main toll plaza of the George Washington Bridge in a roughly two-hour time period on toll evasion charges, according to authorities.

Three truck drivers were charged at the George Washington Bridge in the span of about two hours late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning in connection with alleged attempts to evade tolls, authorities said.

“To date this year, we have arrested 96 people on toll evasion charges,” said Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.

The first of the most recent incidents occurred just before midnight on Wednesday, when Port Authority Police Officer George Kwiecinski was patrolling the GWB’s main toll plaza and spotted a 2003 Freightliner tractor-trailer “with the front license plate secured on an angle to obscure the last two characters,” Coleman said, adding that the second character on the rear plate had allegedly been changed from a “J” to a “U.”

Jose Rodriguez-Lora, 35, of the Bronx was charged with theft of services and tampering with government records, according to the Port Authority.

At 12:50 a.m. Thursday, less than an hour later, Police Officer Raymond Rodriguez of the Port Authority was on patrol in the same location, when he stopped a 1997 Volvo tractor-trailer “with the fourth character on the truck’s front plate covered with duct tape,” Coleman said.

Port Authority police charged David Galarza Algarin, 37, of Lakeland, Fla. with theft of services and tampering with government records.

Also arrested at the main toll plaza in connection with the same charges slightly more than an hour later was Carl J. Proia, 53, of Woburn, Mass., Coleman said.

Port Authority Police Officer Edwin Berdecia at 2:05 a.m. Thursday noticed a 1999 Freightliner tractor-trailer with last character of the front license plate allegedly cut off and caulking material allegedly obscuring the first character, according to Coleman.

“The rear plate was obscured by a low-hanging light housing,” said Coleman, who previously told Patch Port Authority police have seen an increase in toll evasion-related arrests this year because of a “focus on cracking down on toll evasion.”

Related Coverage

Florida Truck Driver Charged at GWB With Toll Evasion

Pennsylvania Driver Charged at GWB With Toll Evasion

Colorado Truck Driver Charged With Toll Evasion at GWB

Port Authority Says Truck Driver ‘Defaced’ Plates to Evade GWB Toll

Florida Truck Driver Without Front Plate Charged at GWB Tollbooths

Art Elmers November 30, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I hope the Patch keeps us appraised of the outcomes of these charges. I want to know if these "toll cheats" pay any significant fine or if it is only a token slap on the wrist that is easily offset by all the times they evaded the tolls and did not get caught. If anyone believes that these are the first times that these drivers have evaded the tolls, I have a toll bridge to sell you. I hope that real investigative police work is done by comparing the driver's log books with toll records and or surveillance videos to see if they successfully evaded tolls in the past. This might lead to multiple charges and larger penalties. Then maybe the Port Authority could really see a reduction in "toll cheating".
Warrior November 30, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Why don't they do a follow up for the public to inform them that all these truck drivers rig their license plates simply because the tolls are too high or they just don't have that kind of cash on them. But they should still get penalized for toll evasion. They never do a proper follow up. I'm pretty sure they're not terrorists, but just can't afford the extortion fees crossing the river to get home.
Robert M Garcia December 02, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I Agree with Warrior. There is no Excuse and there should be a penalty for toll evasion. I just wish they would spend the same amount of time and effort looking into where are toll money is really going, Because its sure not all going to the transportation infrastructure. Theres no reason for these tolls to be so high.

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