If you want to avoid paying tolls in Florida the typical approach is to take alternate routes. A Key Largo man devised a much different solution.

Robert Craig Davis, 70, built a remote-control device that lowered a black curtain over his license plate, then rolled it back up after he passed the toll cameras.

With the license plate unable to be seen by toll cameras, the State of Florida had no way to know who they should send the toll bill to.

Over the past year or so a few amazed motorists have observed the plate-cover device being used, and there have even been several videos of it in operation posted to social media since early 2018. Davis’ luck ran out last week when he operated the device while heading southbound on the Florida Turnpike in plain view of an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol officer who was in his personal vehicle.

Lt. Alejandro Camacho followed Davis while communicating with on-duty law enforcement officials. The FHP pulled Davis over and a search of his vehicle produced the remote control and a SunPass transponder that was being stored in a static shield bag which would have prevented it from transmitting its identity to the toll system.

According to the Miami Herald, Davis was charged with organized fraud and petit theft.

In the arrest report, FHP trooper Dennis Gallo wrote: “The actions of the defendant showed an ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud the SunPass toll system.”

Lee County resident since 2012. Owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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