updated 7/29/2004 6:34:25 PM ET 2004-07-29T22:34:25

Two workers at the Whitney Museum of American Art who were videotaped pocketing cash from ticket sales were charged with stealing $880,000 over 2½ years, authorities said Thursday.

Nafeem Wahlah, 29, the museum’s manager of visitor services, stole $850,000 by voiding ticket sales and keeping the money, said Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau. Investigators found $800,000 in a safe in her Brooklyn home, and she was caught on camera putting cash into her purse, he said.

Wahlah underling Rowan Foley, 24, stole $30,000 the same way and apparently had spent it all by the time he was arrested, Morgenthau said. Foley was caught on video sticking cash into his pocket, he said.

The investigation began after Foley told museum officials he suspected Wahlah of stealing money. “Of course he didn’t tell them that he was stealing also,” Morgenthau said.

Wahlah was indicted on charges of second-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, both punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Foley and Wahlah were also charged with third-degree grand larceny, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

A judge ordered both suspects held without bail until Monday to give them time to hire lawyers before he set an arraignment date.

The museum said in a statement that 90 percent of the stolen money had been recovered and that it was insured for the rest. The statement said the museum has put in place controls to prevent future thefts.

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