And he 'will avoid jail time'
A public works inspector pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing 1.8 million quarters from a New Jersey village.
Prosecutors said that over the course of two years, Thomas Rica literally stuffed his pockets with quarters from the Village of Ridgewood’s meter collection room, a tidy sum that totaled more than $450,000.
Rica, 43, lost his job with the village in January, 2013 after he was arrested and charged with stealing $500 in coins from the Village Hall’s collection room where collected parking meter quarters are stored.
But Bergen County officials investigated further, and learned that Rica had stolen more than just pocket change. Officials said Rica, who was not authorized to be in the room, sneaked the coins out and deposited them in his bank account.
Rica, who appeared in court Wednesday, was charged with fourth-degree theft and hindering apprehension. Under the plea deal, Rica will avoid jail time, but must repay the money within five years while he serves probation.