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Former public works inspector who stole nearly half a Million Dollars in Parking Meter Quarters Spotted in Ridgewood

thomas rica coin boy

November 17, 2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood’s former public works inspector who stole nearly half a million dollars in loose parking meter quarters from the village was seen on Thursday working in the Village. Yes Thomas Rica working at a job site on Valley View Avenue in Ridgewood, on Thursday afternoon, (11/16/2017).

For those who do not remember Rica said he stole $460,000 and received no jail time, according to a plea deal  he reached with the county prosecutor’s office. A judge later upheld the agreement for five years’ probation, which disappointed local officials  and taxpayers . Rica was forced to pay back at least half of the money .

Auditors later found that nearly $850,000 was in fact stolen from the now-infamous coin room where collected parking meter quarters were stored.  Reader pointed out at the time that the “coin boy” stole the equivalent of 50 lbs of quarters a day from Village hall.  This fact made it hard to believe that he acted alone ,but not coconspirators ever came to light.

It appears as though Rica drove the dump truck pictured here and was observed operating the mini-excavator.  The equipment is owned by Della Rica & Sons, Inc. of Glen Rock, a company we believe is owned by Thomas’s brother Randy.  So although there were rumors that Thomas got a job as a pipeline inspector, it appears as though he’s working locally for his brother.

Police were on the scene because of the open trench and work taking place in the roadway  was being done without the proper notification to the police department (generally the contractor is billed for a police officer to guard the excavation on an overtime basis , we guess Randy somehow didn’t know that?).


49 thoughts on “Former public works inspector who stole nearly half a Million Dollars in Parking Meter Quarters Spotted in Ridgewood

  1. Getting contracts from the others who were also paid a portion?

  2. Never hurry, never worry…

  3. Great to see a convicted criminal walking free, smoking expensive cigarettes, living his life as a free man. This is despicable.

  4. Are his pockets bulging?

  5. Probably digging for the remaining $390K!

  6. That’s Ridgewood for you. 850k in quarters…he obviously didn’t act alone. Shame on our powers that be. There are never any consequences for bad employee’s, their actions or lack of action. Just ask Chris Rutishauser, Village Engineer with the VIP parking.

  7. Just remember, Mr. Rica’s immediate supervisor was Chris Rutishauser.

  8. Like we said The villages in a mess, or should we say shit storm.

  9. You mean the director of DPW. There was talk that they were going to make this guy the superintendent of the department of works.

  10. Some say he took the fall for others. You never no.

  11. He’s allowed to work

  12. As a taxpayer why do we need to pay overtime for police on Valleyview with is no traffic. One main roads they are doing a bare minimum, so on this secondary road where there’s very little traffic we need to have officers on overtime for this. Why can’t the villages higher flagman. What is going on. Why we spending so much money on overtime . No wonder the police department has the biggest overtime budget in the town. And every year they run over their budget and take from other budgets not right. And not fair. This must stop.

  13. He should be serving time in jail for his crime.

  14. How come th water dept or sewer dept can dig a hole and just put out cones….and private contractors have to pay around $100 per hour for a cop to put out the cones….then sits on his ass in a village owned police car burning taxpayers gasoline and contributing to premature wear on the motor

  15. He is a convicted criminal. As such, he cannot be bonded. Therefore he should not be working in Ridgewood. Period.

  16. The police overtime is billed to the contractor. The failure to notify here may be because the contractor was trying to avoid paying the overtime fees.

  17. Does the law say and I work in Ridgewood, I don’t know this that’s why I’m just asking.

  18. Expensive cigarettes, I never heard that one. Maybe he should be rolling his own. Like a cowboy. I could see expensive cigars.


  20. But can he work for a contractor as a labor in town. Or is that not allowed.

  21. While Police overtime is paid by contractor, the overall cost is paid by RW taxpayers. As the officer’s compensation is higher and pension is calculated on total compensation including overtime, the annual pension amount is increased for many many years after retirement. Ridgewood taxpayers pay the pension.

    These are schemes that unions play to suck every dollar possible.

    BTW. There should no way we allow a convicted felon who stole from the village to work here. We should also take a hard look at how these contracts are assigned. This just stinks all around

  22. Vaguely recall that his punishment included not working in a public capacity. If so, this wouldn’t count.

  23. Are you sure that’s him?

  24. This is a real cluster mess what happens if we hire a contractor to work in the town and he hires people that have a record been in jail for whatever reasons, how do you screen everybody. I don’t know what the answer is here this is a mess. Somebody clarify for me

  25. I think the solve this problem all utilities should go back to Peed flagman that are certified like they did years ago we never ever had a problem public service utility telephone utility water utility had your own flagman traffic control certified it work then he would work now and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper. I don’t want to hear about any kind of bullshit laws that were passed by politicians that were controlled by the PBA .I’ve been around a long time so don’t give me any kind of bullshit story, stop already I seen the movie. Will you newbies have a lot to learn.

  26. Yes. It’s Thomas Rica for sure. Just ask either of the cops who were at the dig. They will confirm.

  27. Your headline is erroneous. Should say over 3/4 million dollars not nearly 1/2 million dollars.

  28. File freedom of information request and see how many invoices were paid to the brother’s company since Thomas pled guilty. Could have worked numerous jobs for town.

  29. Who took the photo and I don’t see any cop’s and if there was cop’s why didn’t they arrest him.

  30. Arrest him for what 7:43 ?

  31. I say let them work so he can pay back the fine.

  32. Hey they do great work. They been in business for a very long time.

  33. I Like to know Who made the phone call someone is starting trouble .

  34. There was no phone call made. Steve Cummings came upon the dig while he was on routine patrol.

  35. We wonder who else knew about this. Some say he had help you never know right. But really can you imagine how much money must’ve been stolen throughout past 40 years before this incident. Do you think he’s the first person, we doubt it very much. Back in the day when all the books used to be pencil and paper no computers maybe one or two people controlling all the funds coming in and going , It would not shock me in one second . In the end accountant has the full power see a file to invest not invest please. Maybe in the end the village deserved it. Can you imagine what he knows all the dirt skeletons yeah. And boy oh boy there’s a lot of it ‘ especially back in the day when the Ridgewood counsel controlled all the newspapers in town the local press the real estate market in So on , Just like the Nazis did in Germany same shit, just a different continent, and you know it’s sick they know it to

  36. Oh yeah another note just a thought did anyone lose there job , was anyone fired, no one else was brought up on charges, think about it,his immediate supervisor directors manager , no one. Huh, or humm” or well Who can we blame, and don’t tell me the firing of Mr. Gabbert was the answer. Because he Was halfway out the door already. Thank about it

  37. Thank .s 4.45 for the info

  38. Very smart detective work !!

  39. You should change the name of this blog to spotting Rica

  40. I’d still like to know who was sleeping at the switch while all this money was disappearing. That’s a lot of cash no one picked up on.

  41. I feel bad for Randy the owner of the business he’s a great guy. Everywhere he works he has his brother the thief with him. Has to be tough on his business.

  42. defending criminals ?

  43. It’s amazing that top officials in the village read the Ridgewood blog numerous times a day then more than any other press around isn’t that amazing. No fake news here bro. And believe me they cannot stand it because they always control local press, Board of Education, real estate, The woman’s club, and other social groups, just like they did in eastern Europe.
    Thank you
    Me. Benjamin

  44. Thanks for including the photos with the cops. Seeing is believing.

  45. Welcome to Police State where criminals in uniforms are overpaid and dumb asses have an urge to praise them for every opportunity they get

  46. He came back to dig up the rest of the quarters.

  47. Holy shit from reading all these posts the top dogs have no idea how much he really got. Wow, holy my o my . Does anybody know the total of volume in money comes in from the meters at the end of the year on average.

  48. All this over them not hiring a police officer to watch them work they should have just paid the two or three hundred dollars

  49. So did Tommy “coin boy” Rica ever even pay the Village back the $230,000 he’d agreed to as part of his plea conviction in 2014? The forensic accountant said more like $850,000 was stolen, so where is the other $620,000? And why weren’t his supervisor Chris Rutishsuser or the the cops who saw Tommy boy coming and going from the room in their part of the building with 50lb coin bags ever implicated? Was this mob related ? James, what is the update?

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