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1/23/2007
Connecticut: Motorist Hits Car Seizing Tax Collector
A woman runs over the New Haven, Connecticut tax collector as he tries to seize her car.

C.J. CuticelloA motorist ran over the foot of New Haven, Connecticut Tax Collector C.J. Cuticello as he was seizing automobiles at 4:30pm yesterday. Cuticello had been on a mission to generate $2 million in revenue by seizing cars that the city believes owes as little as $50 in unpaid parking tickets or other taxes. Using an automated number plate recognition (ANPR) camera called the Bootfinder, Cuticello searched parked cars looking for potential hits.

When he tried to take a woman's car at the intersection of Orange and Crown Streets, the tax collector got more than he expected. The woman knocked Cuticello over, got in her car, ran over his foot, reversed into the tow truck, and then sped away. Police know the woman's identity and expect to charge her with hit-and-run and aggravated assault. City databases claim the woman owed $536.

Last week, Cuticello grabbed twenty-six vehicles because their owners owed a similar amount in unpaid parking tickets.

In 2005, New Haven towed the cars of parishioners attending Mass at Saint Rose of Lima Church. Parishioners told the New Haven Register newspaper that Cuticello's tow truck driver verbally abused Father Augustin Rojas who was forced to leave the confessional to address the problem in the parking lot. On February 13, 2005 Cuticello had a dozen cars towed out of the parking lot of a Wal-Mart on Route 80.

Cuticello has also used the Bootfinder system to target out-of-state students who attend Yale University, insisting that they pay a Connecticut property taxes on their vehicle in addition to all of the taxes they pay in their home state.

Source: Tax Collector Allegedly Run Down By Scofflaw (WVIT-TV (CT), 1/23/2007)



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