Stolen license plate leaves Colorado city on hook for nearly $1,600 in tolls

LONGMONT, Colo. — A Colorado city has paid nearly $1,600 in toll fees billed to a woman whose stolen license plate was being used by an employee.

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According to internal police communications obtained by The Denver Gazette, Sgt. Stephen Schulz with the Longmont Police Department is accused of taking a stolen license plate from the department’s property and evidence room and using it on an unmarked, take-home police truck.

The license plate originally adorned a car owned by Debra Romero, 52, and her husband. The couple sold the car but kept the plate, which was later stolen, KMGH-TV reported.

Romero told the TV station that Longmont police contacted her and her husband when they located the license plate on an abandoned car, which she said her husband instructed officers to destroy because they no longer owned the vehicle for which it was purchased.

Instead, Romero said the plate was placed on the back of an unmarked, take-home police car where it racked up $1,592.72 in toll fees between July and October 2020, KMGH-TV reported.

“(The notices) just kept coming, and they kept accruing charges, and I was just like, ‘This isn’t me,’” she told the TV station.

Jeffrey Satur, deputy chief of the Longmont Police Department, confirmed to KMGH-TV that the city paid the accrued fines, and Romero said that city leaders apologized to her for the kerfuffle on Friday.

Longmont City Manager Harold Dominguez and Satur told the Gazette that the city intended to pay off the toll bill months ago, but a check was never cut. They said they acted promptly to resolve the situation after the newspaper contacted them about the unusual situation.

Schulz is also president of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police advocacy group in Colorado, the Gazette reported.