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Another former city worker pleads guilty to parking meter theft

WBFO News file photo

For the second time this week, a City of Buffalo worker has pleaded guilty to the theft of parking meters.  57-year-old James Bagarozzo appeared before U.S. Judge Richard Arcara late Thursday  morning in Federal Court. 

Bagarozzo admitted to stealing $210,000 in coins from the meters.  He has agreed to pay full restitution.

Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
US Attorney William Hochul holds up coin box in discussing plea deal in city parking meter thefts

"At any level of government, public servants owe a duty of integrity and honesty to the taxpayers they serve," said U.S. Attorney Hochul. "This office will continue to prosecute  any who breach that duty."

Bagarozzo began working as a parking meter mechanic for the City.  In that capacity, the defendant was responsible for repairing defective parking meter machines, but was not authorized to collect any money deposited into the machines.

Beginning in July 2003 and continuing through December 2011, instead of making necessary repairs, Bagarozzo intentionally damaged in excess of 75 parking meters. Those efforts made it easier for the defendant to steal quarters inserted into the meters by the public.  The defendant stored the stolen quarters in bags in his car or in his pants pockets.

Bagarozzo used the money to pay for personal expenses and the expenses of his family members. 

Bagarozzo could face a maximum sentencing of up to ten years in prison.  He worked for the city for about 30-years. 

Sentencing is scheduled for December 17, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.  

Earlier this week Bagarozzo's co-worker Lawrence Charles also pled guilty to stealing about 15-thousand in from city meters.  Charles will also be sentenced in December. 

"The employees that were involved in this are now former employees. They were terminated, said Mayor Byron Brown.