New surveillance system helps MATA catch possible scammer

(WMC-TV) - A man on a bike tried to say he was involved in a MATA bus accident, but officials with MATA got a good look at him thanks to a new surveillance system.

Surveillance video shows a man pretending to be injured during a bus accident.  What he did not know is that cameras caught him in the act.

In September, a MATA bus was clipped in the rear by an MLGW utility truck.  After the bus driver pulled over to check on the passengers and assess the damage, a man on his bicycle is seen riding up to the scene.

"He's approaching the bus on his bicycle when he stops and starts to take notice of what occurred," said Alison Burton with MATA.  "He's interested and he decides he is going to become part of the accident."

The man then put his bike on the bus bike rack and acted like he was one of the victims in the accident.

MATA was able to get a clear picture of what happened because of new video equipment that they are currently installing on all buses and trolleys.

Twenty passengers filled out injury claim cards that day.  MATA does not know if the man on the bike was one of them.  They are still investigating.

"It's very disappointing to know that someone would want to say they're hurt," said Burton.  "That's something personally I would never do, and when people do it, obviously they're doing it for some type of financial reward."

Burton said transit systems around the country experience this same problem with fraud.  Government agencies are targeted because scam artists think they pay out a lot of money.

Burton said this is not the first time this has happened.  When two trolleys collided on Main Street in June, two people walked out of a store and tried to get on the trolley.  A security guard in the area caught them in the act.

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