No escape: Cars going through E-ZPass booths are photographed and offenders get a bill in the mail
A man accused of breezing through the open E-ZPass toll booths nearly 1,000 times, racking up a $5,000 bill, has been hit with an extra $25,000 in fees.
Alfred Buono, of Staten Island, New York, has been slammed with the administrative fees by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Added together, the agency says Mr Buono owes $30,204, plus interest, for allegedly trying to beat the agency out of toll money.
The Authority, which manages the bridges and tunnels connecting the two states, alleges that Mr Buono made 998 trips over Port Authority crossings in and out of Staten Island between March 13, 2003, and May 23 of this year.
The agency makes the allegations in court papers filed in the state Supreme Court, St. George.
The E-ZPass programme allows drivers to cross bridges and tunnels and pay the tolls later via a credit account.
The Port Authority controls the Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals and Bayonne bridges on Staten Island.
It also manages the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels linking Manhattan with New Jersey.
Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said the agency has several hundred lawsuits pending against alleged toll scofflaws.
He said: 'We take the issue of toll evasion very seriously and continue to take appropriate steps to recover the money that is owed to us.
According to Silive.com, a woman who answered the door on Thursday at Mr Buono's last known address in Rossville, Staten Island, said he doesn't live there any more.
Drivers can go through ungated E-ZPass lanes with no E-ZPass at all or with a lapsed or terminated E-ZPass.
Cameras photograph the offending vehicle and the Port Authority then tries to collect the fee from the registered owner.
The agency first sends letters requesting payment and warning of a potential $25 service fee for each toll owed.
In Mr Buono's case, the Port Authority added on $24,950 in such fees.
If those efforts fail, the authority gives the account to a collection agency.
If collectors make no progress, the case may eventually be referred to a lawyer for legal action.
Since March 2008 peak-hour tolls have rocketed to $8, with off-peak hour tolls are $6 for Staten Island E-ZPass holders at Port Authority crossings.
For many years before that the tolls were $5 for peak hours and $4 for off-peak hours.