A New Jersey woman was charged Wednesday for allegedly failing to pay for 257 toll passages totaling more than $16,000, PEOPLE confirms.
Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo tells PEOPLE Denise Simien, 55, was apprehended by police around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as she allegedly tried to pass through a toll plaza near the eastbound Holland Tunnel, which goes from New Jersey into Manhattan.
Simien, who was driving a 2007 Toyota SUV, allegedly did not stop for police when they signaled for her to pull over before she passed the tollbooth. But once on the other side of the toll plaza, closer to the entrance to the tunnel, she was stopped by another officer and charged with theft of services and obstruction of justice.
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According to Pentangelo, Simien allegedly owes $16,633 on her EZ Pass account. Media reports stated she allegedly skipped tolls more than 500 times, nearly double the 257 times she’s accused of, a discrepancy Pentangelo explains by noting that most bridges and tunnels have tolls just one direction of travel. The Holland Tunnel toll costs $12.50 during peak hours for EZ Pass holders.
The Jersey Journal reports that there have been several similar arrests recently, but that officials could not confirm if the Port Authority – which oversees much of the transportation infrastructure between New York and New Jersey – is running an operation to catch alleged fare beaters.
Simien is due back in Jersey City Court on Tuesday, July 19. It was unknown whether she has entered a plea or retained a lawyer. Calls to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office were not returned.