Robber targets Expressway toll booth

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police are confirming an armed robbery in one of the most unexpected places: a Richmond toll booth. 

That crime happened Halloween night, but it was no prank. The man, armed with a gun, drove right up to the main toll booth on the Downtown Expressway. He's still on the loose.

It was literally highway robbery when that man pulled up to one of the full service lanes Saturday night. Instead of handing the attendant the toll, he pulled out a gun and demanded the cashier hand over the money.

It definitely wasn't business as usual for that worker at the Downtown Expressway main toll plaza just before 10 p.m. Halloween night. The typical toll transaction doesn't include a handgun and a demand for money.

Robert Boddie, who drives through those tolls four times a week, says he's, "very surprised, very surprised. This is the first time I've ever heard of anything like it."

Officials aren't giving out too many details on Saturday's incident, citing the "ongoing police investigation." The robbery has left some drivers wondering if those late night toll booth workers are sitting ducks. The RMA will only say it has extensive security measures in place and was able to enact those procedures Saturday.

"Why would you want to rob a toll booth? I mean they got a lot of change."  He goes on to say, "Doesn't make sense to me," said Boddie.

We aren't sure at this point how much money the robber got away with, but since the full service lanes only make change, attendants do not keep a lot of money on hand.

All of the money that's collected on our toll roads in terms of tolls goes back to the roadway, to maintain the roads and for upkeep. So, any loss such as this, even minimal, would definitely have an impact on our ability to maintain the roads," said RMA spokesperson Linda McElroy.

We've learned the last robbery on RMA property was years ago and it took place at one of the off-ramp booths, not at the main toll plaza. Police are still looking for the suspect. You can call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 with any tips.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.