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New Jersey Official Admits Stealing $460K in Quarters

The former public works inspector for a New Jersey village admitted he swiped $460,000 from the town parking meter collection room — in quarters.

Thomas Rica of Hawthorne, N.J., pleaded guilty in court early Wednesday to four counts of third-degree theft after pilfering 1.8 million coins over a two-year period, according to the Bergen County Record.

Under his plea agreement, Rica, 43, will receive five years of probation and pay back the full amount over that time, the newspaper reported. He will make an initial lump sum down payment and then shell out $2,000 every month to the village over five years.

Rica lost his job with Ridgewood, N.J., in January 2013 after he was arrested for taking $500 in coins from the collection room. A year-long probe by Bergen County authorities showed that he had actually swiped a veritable mountain of change weighing about 22,000 pounds.

Authorities say Rica deposited the loot in his bank account. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rica cannot work for another municipality.

He does not face jail time.