During the years that I have spent as a Claims Adjuster, probably 75% of my claims have been related to a theft of some type which has taken place. Some of those thefts have been very basic using the application of nothing but brute force, while others have exercised a degree of intelligence in analyzing how the money can be taken.
Recently the FBI announced the sentencing of James Bagarozzo, a former employee of the city of Buffalo, New York, for a very unique series of thefts; these thefts took place over a period of several years. The sad part of this story is that Mr. Bagarozzo had been an employee of the city for 30(+) years prior to his arrest.
Mr. Bagarozzo was employed by the city of Buffalo as a mechanic whose job it was to repair parking meters. But instead completing the needed repairs to the meters, he rigged at least 75% of the meters so that he could steal the money that was put into the meters.
Apparently Mr. Bagarozzo, as the mechanic, was not given access to the cash during his repair procedures, so what he did was to rig the meter to deposit the coins in a specially prepared receptacle and he would then pick up the funds at a later time from the meter.
The FBI reports the thefts began in 2003 and would have continued on forever if it had not been for the appointment of a new parking commissioner, who noted the difference between the new electronic meters income and the mechanical meters. The city officials of Buffalo began the investigation of this situation in September of 2010, eventually requesting assistance from the local FBI field office.
When Mr. Bagarozzo’s home was searched, the investigators found $40,000 in cash hidden in the ceiling and an estimated $47,000 total in currency and coins. Part of the theft operation was to take the coins to the local bank where Mr. Bagarozzo informed the tellers that he was doing a favor for a friend that operated a vending machine business and would be able to exchange the quarters for cash. The tellers became so used to his coming into their branch for the exchange, they gave him boxes to fill that held $500 in quarters and he would be given the cash in return.
In September of 2012, Mr. Baragozzo pled guilty and agreed to pay restitution of $210,000. According to the U.S Attorney, who prosecuted the case, Mr. Baragozzo was using the money to pay personal and family expenses.