Three toll collectors on Florida's Turnpike arrested for $13k thievery

July 13, 2007
The Florida Highway Patrol says that three toll collectors working at toll plazas of Florida's Turnpike in Broward County north of Miami have been arrested an charged with theft. The three work for Faneuil Group which provides toll collection services to the Turnpike Enterprise.

Charged were:

- Shaun Baugh, 23 a supervisor at the Hollywood Boulevard toll plaza, accused of thieving $7,400

- Richard Pierre, 34, toll collector at the toll plaza at Commercial Boulevard, said to have stolen more than $5,100

- Todd Zislin, 47, toll collector at Sunrise Boulevard toll plaza charged with stealing $742

All three are charged with "grand theft." Baugh was also charged with violation of probation on a previous offense, raising the question of whether the contractor is vetting employees properly.

The Faneuil Group was embarrassed in June by an incident in which an operator at the Turnpike's customer service center, Sharon Taffe, 38, generated a phony "refund" of $240k and wired it into her own bank account. She is now in jail.

In December last year a Leesburg toll collector Joy Haniff, 47, was charged with stealing more than $3,000. She was simply taking money from her cash drawer.

Modern toll lanes have vehicle sensing equipment (usually electromagnetic loops in the pavement) and sometimes laser or light curtains to register separation between vehicles, providing a record of vehicles in the lane during a collector shift. If the money handed in by the collector at the end of their shift doesn't match the tolls due according to the traffic recorded by the lane equipment then thievery is suspected.

Once there is suspicion of thievery video surveillance cameras can be used to watch the collector. Later police may make dummy runs paying tolls with marked notes and see if they turn up or disappear. Collectors are sometimes arrested as they leave a shift to catch them with stolen money on their person.

TOLLROADSnews 2007-07-13

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