NJ man steals $460K in quarters


POSTED: Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 8:00am

UPDATED: Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 8:04am

It’s not the first time a government employee has lined his own pockets with public money.

But one man is raising eyebrows... after admitting to stealing 460-thousand dollars... in quarters.

Former Ridgewood Village employee Thomas Rica pleaded guilty to the crime in Bergen County court, as part of a deal.

"We're dealing with the theft of quarters over a period of a couple of years. It's difficult to calculate exactly how many quarters were stolen," said the prosecutor.

Rica was a building inspector in Ridgewood, so he had access to the room at Village Hall where they kept money collected from parking meters.

He admits to stealing them on at least four separate occasions, each time stealing thousands of dollars in quarters.

"It was just temptation. He was in a room with a lot of money. He was raising a family. As a result, he thought he would supplement his income with that," said Bob Galantucci, Rica's attorney.

Just to put it in perspective, 460-thousand dollars equals nearly 2-million quarters.

They would weigh about 11.5 tons, about six and a half full size cars.

"I can't imagine putting all that money in a case to carry around," said one Ridgewood resident.

"It's terrible. Here we are giving our money to the city and here's somebody taking the money away from the city. It makes no sense to me," resident Barbara Mendelson, told News 12.

As part of the plea deal, Rica will get five years of probation and must pay the money back to Ridgewood. 

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