A former city official from New Jersey has pleaded guilty to stealing almost half a million dollars of quarters.
Thomas Rica had worked as a public works inspector in Ridgewood for more than eight years when he began stealing quarters from the parking meter collection room in 2011.
He was arrested in January 2013 for stealing $500 of quarters, but investigators eventually determined he had stolen $460,000 overall.
Rica was not authorized to be in the room, but would enter it and fill his pockets with money. They say he deposited the money — more than 1.8 million quarters — in his bank account.
He received five years' probation and was ordered to pay about $200,000 in restitution to Ridgewood. Given that he stole $460,000, it sounds like he's still walking away a winner.
There's an easy way to embezzle and a hard way. This guy chose the hard way.