What may have begun as a theft of nickels and dimes, in the end was the equivalent of a major bank heist,” U.S. Attorney William Hochul.” – The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Today we are looking at a case in which a parking meter mechanic was caught stealing quarters. At first glance, you might wonder why the police have even bothered with arresting this man if he was only stealing quarters. The full story may surprise you.
James Bagarozzo, a 57-year-old former Buffalo, New York city employee was arrested in December 2011 for theft for allegedly taking home 210,000 dollars worth of quarters.
In the course of 8 years, Bagarozzo, would take quarters from over 75 parking meters that he had intentionally damaged according the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s media release.
Bagarozzo would bring the quarters home and put them into coin rolls, then into boxes of $500 to take to the bank. According to the Huffington Post,
At the time of his arrest, investigators found $40,000 in cash in the ceiling of Bagarozzo’s bedroom, $4,100 in a dresser and $3,000 worth of quarters in closets in bags and boxes around the house.”
The prosecution explained that Bagarozzo used the money to send his children to college and pay off his mortgage.
The defense reported that in 2003, Bagarozzo had an episode of Crohn’s disease that was so series it left him believing he would live long. Along with that, the defense reported that Bagarozzo has gambling disease and that is where he spent most of the money he stole.
The Buffalo’s Department of Parking Enforcement noticed a difference in the amounts of money being collected by new computerized pay stations and the quarter fed parking meters. An investigation was conducted in 2011 with video surveillance that recorded Bagarozzo in the act that lead to his arrest.
Bagarozzo isn’t the only meter mechanic to be brought in and sentenced to prison. Lawrence Charles, another former parking meter mechanic for the city of Buffalo was also arrested in 2011. He will be sentenced on August 29, 2013.
The FBI was brought in as the city of Buffalo receives Federal funding. The media release also stated that U.S. Attorney Hochul said,
Let this case serve as yet another reminder that whether white-collar, blue-collar, or no-collar, none is immune from prosecution if they violate their oath to the public or break the laws of this nation.”
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara announced Bagarozzo’s sentence of 30 months in prison. He has also been ordered to pay $210,000 in restitution.