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Village Employee Accused of Stealing Parking Meter Quarters

Thomas Rica, 42, of Hawthorne, is facing theft charges, according to police.

The Ridgewood Public Works Inspector has been arrested on theft charges for allegedly stealing parking meter quarters, Police Chief John Ward said Wednesday night. 

Thomas Rica, 42, of Hawthorne, was arrested Tuesday night on charges of fourth-degree theft and hindering apprehension, Ward said.

A Ridgewood employee since 2004, Rica is accused of stealing quarters retrieved from parking meters and stored at Village Hall, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

"An employee noticed that coins appeared to be missing from the room," police said Thursday. "The investigation revealed that the room had been entered numerous times by an employee that was not authorized to be in the room."

As Public Works Inspector, Rica would have access to both the meters and the room they're stored in. Police have not disclosed the amount missing, but said it exceeds $500.

Public records show Rica made just over $86,000 in 2011.

Rica was released on his own recognizance. A joint investigation between the Ridgewood Police Department and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office remains ongoing, Ward said. 

Village Manager Ken Gabbert declined comment, citing a personnel matter.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn also declined comment or to provide further details, calling the issue a "sensitive personnel matter."

Rica faces an upcoming appearance in Ridgewood Municipal Court.

Ridgewood Patch will update this breaking news story as more details become available. 

jp1 January 16, 2013 at 05:51 PM
What if he is found guilty?
John Russo January 18, 2013 at 09:56 PM
I believe in due process of law. Let them prove the charges against Mr. Rica beyond a reasonable doubt.
Miriam January 18, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Jp, he will NOT be found guilty
Julio January 24, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Those of you who are defending that dirtbag Rica need Jesus.The dirtbag was caught red-handed stealing the money.Hope they find the real thief Miriam?They caught him already.As soon as his dumb ass walked out with the quarters.You're in denial!!!
Miriam January 27, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Im not in denial Julio, Im using my right to free speech and honoring the law of innocent until proven guilty in a COURT of law!!! If you weren't there, don't judge!!!

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