Between 2003 and 2011, Buffalo, N.Y. parking meter mechanic James Bagarozzo stole more than 800,000 quarters from parking meters located throughout the Buffalo area. Yes, 800,000 quarters. Because of his job title, he was able to do it pretty easily, too. But late last week, about two years after he finally got busted for doing it, Bagarozzo was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for stealing the quarters, which is considered a federal crime.
So how exactly did he steal all those quarters? Well, according to court documents, he did it by rigging approximately 70 meters in Buffalo so that he could collect quarters from them. It seems that he had a nasty gambling habit that started in 2003 that he couldn't control. So he would routinely steal quarters from the machines, roll them up, and then take them to the bank to exchange them for cash. He then hid most of the proceeds from his thefts in the ceiling at his home.
Bagarozzo got caught back in 2011 after the city started switching over to digital parking meters and realized that they were making more money with those than they were with the old meters. Buffalo officials then went back and looked through surveillance tapes and realized that Bagarozzo and another man Lawrence Charles had been stealing from them for years. The FBI got involved and found $40,000 in Bagarozzo's ceiling and and got him to admit to his crimes.
Bagarozzo apologized for committing the crimes during a court hearing last week. But he'll still have to serve time for it and look for a new job once he's released from jail. It definitely doesn't sound like all of those quarters were worth it.
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