An ex-Buffalo, N.Y., parking meter mechanic will spend more than two years in prison for stealing 840,000 coins from the meters over an eight-year period.
The Inquisitr reports that according to ABC News, James Bagarozzo rigged the parking meters and stole more than 800,000 coins. In total, the theft was worth close to $210,000.
The 58-year-old Bagarozzo was supposed to begin each day checking to see if any of the machines needed to be repaired. He reportedly broke the machines instead so that the coins would pile up at the top.
"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 said, according to the Huffington Post.
Bagarozzo apologized in court before he was sentenced and said that he stole the coins to fuel his gambling addiction. He also noted that he had an illness that he thought was fatal and wanted to leave his family a nest egg.
The parking meter mechanic asked for community service and house confinement but U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara rejected the plea.
“With all its problems, the last thing the city of Buffalo needs is employees who don’t do what they’re paid to do,” Arcara stated.
A former co-worker, Lawrence Charles, followed Bagarozzo's lead, stealing $15,000 in quarters over about five years, prosecutors said. Chares’ sentencing was postponed until Aug. 29. He’s expected to get six months to a year in prison.
The employees reportedly came under scrutiny in 2011 after Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer noticed the city's new computerized pay stations were bringing in far more money than the old quarter-fed parking meters.