Verrazano Toll Cheat Busted After Breaking Officer’s Arm

A motorist was caught red-handed after a series of incidents in which he allegedly tried to cheat the toll on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. The New York Daily News is reporting that Staten Island resident Steven Gorelik broke a Bridge and Tunnel officer’s arm while trying to escape a toll payment, leading to his arrest.

In a borrowed Honda Accord, the 30-year-old Gorelik had spent the past week skipping tolls by piggy-backing behind the rear bumpers of cars who paid their toll, racing behind them before the mechanical arm closes. The maneuver actually ends up charging the law-abiding driver twice.

After Gorelik attempted the trick again earlier last week, Officer Paul Padilla stopped the lead car in an attempt to stop Gorelik. Gorelik then allegedly raced around the front car, breaking Padilla’s arm with his side view mirror.

Gorelik’s plates were captured on camera, leading Bridge and Tunnel Officers to mount an investigation. When Gorelik brazenly attempted to pull the stunt again later in the week, police were waiting for him with a roadblock at the end of the bridge. Gorelik allegedly confessed to the cops on the scene and was charged with assault of an officer, theft of service, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.

Padilla, an army medic who served in the Iraq War, had successfully revived a heart attack victim who had pulled over on the side of the bridge earlier in the year.

Clarification (7/16/2013): This post has been changed to more clearly reflect that Gorelik as part of an operation by the Bridge and Tunnel Officers, not the NYPD. We apologize for any confusion the original post’s ambiguity may have caused.


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