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?).