RMA/Cushing high security booth
By Peter Samuel
The Richmond Metropolitan Authority and toll booth manufacturer Cushing (also located in Richmond VA) are working on a new high-security toll booth for hold-up vulnerable locations. This follows two armed holdups at the Valley Hill plaza and one on the Downtown Expressway in Richmond VA. In all cases the holdups occurred late at night with a lone toll collector on duty.
Mike Berry, RMA general manager, says that the toll authority has improved fencing and lighting and installed new signage warning intruders security will be summoned. In two cases the robber walked in, and in another drove.
But Berry says he thinks one answer may be the modification of vulnerable toll booths to enable them to be placed in a holdup-resistant High Security mode. Under the concept being developed with boothmaker Cushing the toll booth would be fitted with armorplate panels and bullet proof glass. It would operate normally with an open window during less vulnerable hours.
But at night, or when considered vulnerable, the collector could go to High Security mode. The collector would lock the door and close the window by pulling across and locking in place a thick bullet proof acryllic screen with a talk grill. In this Holdup Resistant mode all toll money and change would be passed through a 2-way money drawer in a setup similar to those used by many banks and gas-stations to deter holdups.
Berry says the toll collectors in all their holdup incidents promptly pressed the alarm, and the authority got surveillance pictures, but the heists were done and the robber gone so quickly they couldnt get police or security there in time to chase, or do an arrest. Following instructions when confronted by a robber with a gun the toll collectors handed over their money. Berry thinks one man involved may have been picked up later in a nearby robbery of a small business, but in another case the robber was likely way up I-95 by the time help arrived. Money losses were not large (a couple of hundred bucks) but he says you have to worry about possible copycat followups, the trauma to collectors, and the danger of someone getting shot. (Contact Mike Berry RMA 804 649 8494