An off-duty Staten Island cop was arrested Thursday on charges he used an expired paper license plate to avoid paying tolls, according to the NYPD and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office.
Joseph Marino was arrested in the early morning, within the confines of the same precinct where he works. The 27-year-old police officer was charged with possession of a forged instrument in the second degree and petty larceny. He was arraigned and released on the same day, according to the DA.
Marino owns a 2021 white Mercedes-Benz SUV registered with a New York license plate. According to the criminal court complaint, another member of the NYPD spotted the vehicle in January with bogus plates attached. At the time, Marino pulled out multiple New York license plates from the trunk of the SUV in an attempt to prevent it from getting towed, according to the complaint.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told investigators that the Benz was captured crossing the Outerbridge Crossing without paying the $16 toll on 12 occasions.
Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD announced a renewed push to crack down on covered and fake license plates. Just days after the announcement, Gothamist observed a van with an NYPD placard on the dashboard being pulled over by a New York state trooper. The driver of that van was let off the hook after telling the trooper he was an undercover NYPD officer, despite the placard being expired.
"As the mayor stated earlier this month, anyone who tries to make their car untraceable will not go unpunished," Fabien Levy, an Adams spokesperson, said in an email. "No one is above the law."