A parking meter mechanic in Buffalo, New York was sentenced to more than two years in prison this week for the theft of 840K coins.
According to ABC, James Bagarozzo rigged the parking meters in Buffalo and stole more than 800,000 coins over the course of eight years. In total, Bagarozzo stole close to $210,000.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul said that Bagarozzo’s crime started as nickel and dime theft but ended like a bank heist.
Hochul told the Huffington Post: “What may have begun as a theft of nickels and dimes, in the end was the equivalent of a major bank heist,”
Bagarozzo was supposed to spend the first minutes of his day checking to see if any of the machines needed to be repaired. The parking meter broke the machines instead so that the coins would pile up at the top.
Bagarozzo apologized in court before he was sentenced. The New York parking meter mechanic said that he stole the coins to fuel his gambling addiction. He also said that he had an illness that he thought was fatal and wanted to leave his family a nest egg.
The parking meter mechanic said: “I have hit rock bottom and I have had to come up with my family and friends.”
Bagarozzo asked for community service and house confinement but U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara rejected the plea.
Arcara said: “With all its problems, the last thing the city of Buffalo needs is employees who don’t do what they’re paid to do.”