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Ridgewood still shocked over worker’s coin theft



Ridgewood still shocked over worker’s coin theft

FEBRUARY 12, 2015, 8:21 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2015, 10:48 PM

RIDGEWOOD — Some seven months after he admitted stealing $460,000 in parking meter quarters from a storage room in Village Hall, Thomas Rica’s thievery still has residents confused, shocked and disappointed.

Villagers wonder how Rica — a former Ridgewood public works inspector — stole more than a million quarters without help from an accomplice. Other residents are stunned that his crime wave went undetected for so long.

Others remain in utter disbelief over his punishment, which veteran prosecutors have characterized as a “sweetheart deal.”

“I am insane over all of it,” Kay Griffith said Thursday as she left lunch at Raymond’s eatery with a friend. “I’m really very upset.”

Last summer, Rica admitted in court that he took $460,000 in loose quarters from Ridgewood’s coin room.

Rica, who lives in Hawthorne, accepted a plea offer in July that spared him prison time. His sentence is five years’ probation in the deal, brokered by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

Rica must also pay back about half the money over the course of his probation, the deal mandates.

15 thoughts on “Ridgewood still shocked over worker’s coin theft

  1. How were these coins deposited without any questions & where?

  2. The Prosecutor does not say that the higher amount was not stolen, only that he felt Rica could be charged with $460k. This was due in part to the complete lack of controls so that multiple people had access to and could have stolen $. Not sure why the investigation was not expanded to determine who else was involved, but this makes sense to me. I am guessing the use of the quarters room as a piggy bank was an open secret at Village Hall. This would explain how the mountain of quarters was moved on a daily basis–multiple hands in the till.

    The bottom line is that this utterly shakes my confidence in the Village administration. No controls on the management of cash receipts?? That is just asking for people to steal. How about fewer discussions on civil discourse and more discussion on Accounting 101.

  3. The method by which he converted enormous piles of quarters into spendable cash remains one of the most important things that have not been revealed. You simply can’t walk into a store and buy the things he did with quarters. It’s clear he had a way of turning them either into bank notes, or directly depositing them into a bank account. I doubt that any of this change was deposited into a bank account as bank staff would have become suspicious, not to mention him knowing that such deposits would leave evidence in his bank account(s) of all this unusual deposit activity. I strongly suspect that he was able to convert the coins into paper notes, and with those notes, went and shopped. Don’t forget that a lot of supermarkets have/had those change machines in them. These are the machines where you can deposit your coins, and it gives you paper money (less a small fee percentage). I think these machines saw a lot of action. There are also those machines in town where you can insert paper notes and they give you back quarters (for parking). I wouldn’t be surprised if he also had control over those machines and was able to steal the paper money from them.

  4. There are far more questions than answers at this point. I’d like to see the feds investigate this. There is no one this person acted alone and someone HAD to know this was going on.

  5. This must be an ongoing episode of Keystone cops.

  6. The town is a clown . The previous administration as well as this one is full of arrogance and hubris. They are indeed very “civil.” If you suggest a difference or disagree with them , they simply ignore you.

    If , in the past, a resident had asked the procedure for the coins , they would have been ignored.

    To require wireless technology to park, especially at a public parking hub, is unacceptable; it is an outrage. What if someone misplaces their phone or what if the phone loses charge.

    The present administration is NOT concerned with ACCESS for ALL; facilitating Seniors; . Inclusiveness, creating a community or civility in action. which is what really counts.

    They use these words for self-aggrandizement; they are hypocrites and do not deserve to be sitting on the dais.

  7. Anything that you do like about this town Diane?

  8. Rica reportedly used the coin counting machines at several TD Banks and deposited the money directly into his personal account(s) or got cash back. He is said to have told tellers that he was the owner of a very large coin operated laundromat.

  9. $850,00 in quarters weighs 42,500 lbs
    $850,000 in quarters packed tightly is 425 cubic feet

    I don’t think he acted alone.
    The rush to judgement says “cover up” to me.

  10. “The rush to judgement says “cover up” to me.” or an over calculation of the projected income by the accounting firm in order for the town to recoup from the insurance company.

  11. Looks more like an under calculation by the accounting firm since an additional $$377,000 was apparently stolen.

  12. It could be if they were the original firm that did the first audit for the the criminal investigation but they weren’t.

  13. Bush help him.

  14. And everyone wondered why he had a truck with a lift gate .

  15. Why not link to the audit, which is on the Village website? That way, people can assess for themselves if the methodology was sound. I’ve read it a couple times and I agree withe the assessment. Much more that $460k is missing. The exact amount will never be known, but they are in the ball park.

    I noticed that one of those identity websites lists two Hawthorn addresses for Rica: one in a house, and one in an apartment complex. I hope his wife and family got tired of living with such a disgrace and kicked him out.

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