New York cracks down on ‘ghost cars’ that evade tolls: ‘The Ghostbusters have arrived’

  • New York authorities announced on Monday that a multi-agency operation had seized so-called “ghost cars”, arrested eight people and issued nearly 300 court summonses.
  • “Ghost cars” are an informal term used to describe vehicles with forged or altered license plates designed to help motorists evade tolls and ticket fees.
  • “Today the Ghostbusters have arrived,” Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. “We’re going after ghost vehicles. The show has begun.”

New York Authorities are cracking down on so-called “ghost cars,” vehicles that use altered or forged license plates to avoid paying tolls and tickets.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and law enforcement officials announced Tuesday that a multi-agency arrest on Monday resulted in the seizure of 73 vehicles. 282 summonses were issued and 8 arrests were made.

Officials said this is the first effort by a new state and city task force to enforce the license plate requirement.

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Monday’s operation involved about 150 officers who used license plate reader technology, visual inspections and other methods to spot fake license plates along three river crossings into Manhattan: the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge) New York City The borough is connected to New Jersey by the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel.

“Today the Ghostbusters have arrived,” Hochul, a Democrat, said at a news conference at the RFK Bridge. “We’re going after ghost vehicles. The show has begun.”

Janno Lieber, chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said tax avoidance costs the region’s transit system about $50 million a year, money that could be invested in modernizing subways and buses.

“They’re taking your money,” he said. “That’s tax money.”

Adams said police had discovered a clear link between illegal vehicles and violent crime. He said vehicles with fraudulent or altered license plates – or no tags at all – were often unregistered, uninsured or stolen. This makes it very difficult to track down vehicles and their owners when they are involved in hit-and-runs, robberies, shootings and other crimes.

Some criminals even carry multiple sets of license plates and switch them around to avoid detection, the mayor said.

“These ‘ghost vehicles’ pose a threat to our roads,” adams says. “We don’t know who they were. They disappeared into the night.”

To be sure, forging or changing license plates is nothing new, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said.

But the city has seen an influx of them during the pandemic, with people buying fake plates online that appear to be issued by out-of-state dealers.

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Caban said violators also use spray paint, tape and other materials to cover up or change license plate numbers and letters. Others purchase devices that can be activated by the driver to overlay the license plate when the vehicle enters the toll zone, making it impossible for the toll system technology to read the plate.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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