A Crazy Quarter Criminal Stole $210,000 From Parking Meters

By Eric Limer on at

An American parking meter mechanic ran his lucrative criminal conspiracy one quarter at a time. Over eight years, he managed to steal $210,000 (£133,900), or five tonnes of quarters from modified meters. That's a lot of pocket change.

James Bagarozzo, quarter-rich criminal mastermind, had worked out a pretty good system for himself. As a mere parking meter mechanic, he had permission to tinker with the machines, but not to actually access their coin canisters. So in order to skim coin, he just retrofitted some of the older meters with modifications that squirrelled away all the quarters in a separate compartment he could access.

A Crazy Quarter Criminal Stole $210,000 From Parking Meters

Over the years, he rigged up about 70 different meters this way, and explained to local bank tellers that he had a buddy in the vending machine industry, which somehow explained his weekly trips to the bank with hundreds of dollars in coins. According to the FBI, the bank eventually just started giving him boxes designed to fit exactly $500 in quarters. The picture of convenience.

Everything was going great until a new parking commissioner showed up and noticed that the newer, more secure electric meters were generating waaaay more money than the older, mechanical ones. One thing lead to another, and suddenly Bagarozzo found his house full of investigators checking out the $40,000 of cash and quarters he had stashed in his ceiling.

Bagarozzo was just sentenced to 30 months in jail for his theft — not half bad for 10 years of bonus quarter-income. And according to TIME, the city's yearly parking meter income has jumped half a million dollars since the arrest. I just hope he had the chance to Scrooge McDuck it at least once, before it all went to hell. [FBI via Time via Atlantic Cities]