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Theft of 840K coins sends NY meter-man to prison

Saturday - 8/17/2013, 4:04pm  ET

This Oct. 3, 2011 image taken from surveillance video and released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, former parking meter mechanic James Bagarozzo removes a half-full red bag of quarters from his pocket in Buffalo, N.Y. Bagarozzo is one of two former parking meter mechanics who face sentencing for stealing thousands of dollars in quarters from Buffalo parking meters while on the job, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York)

Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A former Buffalo, N.Y., parking meter mechanic has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars in quarters while on the job.

Prosecutors say it was James Bagarozzo's idea to rig meters to get at the coins. He stole $210,000 over more than eight years, grabbing fistfuls of coins, storing them in a bag in his truck and then rolling and cashing them in at banks.

Bagarozzo apologized during a brief statement. He blamed a gambling addiction and an illness he believed would kill him.

Bagarozzo pleaded guilty to theft in September, along with a former co-worker, Lawrence Charles. Charles admitted stealing $15,000 in quarters over about five years. He's expected to get six months to a year in prison at his Aug. 29 sentencing.

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