City Worker Steals $460K in Quarters

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (AP) — The former public works inspector for a northern New Jersey town has admitted stealing $460,000 in quarters. That's 1,840,000 quarters, or 11.25 tons, over the course of two years.

The Record of New Jersey reports Thomas Rica pleaded guilty last week to four counts of theft. In return, prosecutors will recommend that he receive five years' probation and pay about $200,000 in restitution to Ridgewood.

From The Record:

Collectively, his take weighed 11.25 tons, according to the U.S. Mint. That’s the equivalent of three elephants, a single 84-passenger bus or nine Honda Civics. But Rica didn’t deposit it all at once; he cashed in the loose change over time at several bank branches using coin machines to avoid detection, authorities said. 

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The 43-year-old Hawthorne resident lost his job with Ridgewood in January 2013, following his arrest for taking $500 in coins from its parking meter collection room. But investigators later determined that he stole $460,000 overall.

Authorities said the thefts occurred over the course of 25 months. They say 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.

Rica will make an initial lump sum down payment of $69,000 at his sentencing on June 6, followed by at least $2,000 a month to the village for five years, under the deal’s terms, which were set by the Prosecutor’s Office.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com

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