Man steals $210,000 from parking meters

A man has been jailed for stealing more than $210,000 from parking machines across New York – entirely in loose change.

James BagarozzoJames Bagarozzo, who is a parking meter repair man, worked in Buffalo for more than 30 years and serviced its 1,200 meters.

The 58-year-old rigged dozens of machines so deposited quarters never dropped into the coin canister – allowing him to steal the money for himself.

FBI investigators found around $47,000 in cash and quarters in Bagarozzo’s home, including $40,000 hidden in his bedroom ceiling.

Over an eight-year period, the parking meter perp used bags in his car or his deep-pocket work trousers to take the money home.

He would then roll the change in coin wrappers and exchange them for bank notes.

The FBI said the bank never questioned him because he said he had a friend in the vending machine business.

Special agent Rob Gross of the FBI Buffalo division, who investigated the case, said: ‘When he went to work, half of his day was spent stealing from the city.

‘He developed such a good relationship with the bank tellers that they eventually gave him boxes to use that held exactly $500-worth of quarters. He went to the bank several times a week with a $500 box of quarters and got cash in return.’

Bagarozzo has been jailed for two-and-a-half years and former colleague Lawrence Charles, who stole $15,000 in quarters, has been arrested.

Bagarozzo said he started stealing the coins when he became ill and was concerned about how he would financially provide for his wife and two teenage daughters.

He was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, in 2003.


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