Police say two Atlantic City residents stuffed toll baskets on the Atlantic City Expressway with material to keep coins from going in, then returned later to steal the money that accumulated.

Angela Freeman-Poles, 54, and Aljah Reaves, 57, were arrested and charged with theft for tampering with the tolls and stealing the money, New Jersey State Police said in a statement Monday.

According to police, the South Jersey Transportation Authority - which operates the Atlantic City Expressway and Atlantic City International Airport - contacted detectives for the AC Expressway to report several toll basket malfunctions and toll shortages. Police say the malfunctions occurred between August and September at the Exit 5 entrance and exit ramps and resulted in toll shortages.

Investigators obtained surveillance footage which showed a man and woman, later identified as Freeman-Poles and Reaves, exiting a vehicle at the toll plaza. Police said in a statement that the pair stuffed some type of material into the toll basket, which prevented the coins thrown in by motorists from going into the basket. Once enough coins had collected on top of the material, the couple returned and removed the money, and also allegedly stole coins that had fallen on the ground near the toll baskets, police said.

Following the investigation, Freeman‑Poles and Reaves were arrested on Oct. 27 and 28 and charged with theft, police say. They were taken to Atlantic County Jail on $35,000 bail with no 10 percent option.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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