*Some would argue that it definitely pays to be a white man – even a deeply tanned one, at times like this.
It is exactly in these times that we see just how lopsided “the system” remains when it comes to equal justice for all.
By no stretch of the imagination, this may be the most perfect example of how, if the tables were turned and the guilty party was a black man, you could bet your next breath he would have gotten a prison sentence.
In this story, however, a former public works inspector for a small town in northern New Jersey actually admitted that over a two year period he actually stole $460,000 in quarters that had been collected from the city’s parking meters .
And the judge decided he doesn’t have to go to prison for it.
Instead, Superior Court Judge Patrick Roma has given him five years of probation.
Is your blood boiling yet?
Thomas Rica had been employed in Ridgewood for a decade prior to his arrest for taking $500 in coins from the town’s parking meter collection room.
That was before it was discovered that he had actually stolen $460,000 overall.
Rica is said to have looked down at a grained wood table as Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daniel Keitel spoke of his methodical strategy for stealing the money over a period of time.
Pouring over the facts, Keitel determined Rica had made regular trips to the meter collection room” where buckets of quarters sat. “Over a period of a couple of years, thousands of dollars in coins were taken,” Keitel states – all the while pre-empting the statement with the first-time-offender status for the court.
Keitel said that Rica would slip into the room using a master key that he had been given; and once inside, he tinkered with the ceiling security camera so it couldn’t capture his actions. He would then deposit all the coins he had taken into a variety of personal bank accounts open in his name.
Rica was making an annual salary of $86,000.
Keitel does add that it was difficult to determine exactly how much money Rica has stolen. They did what they could based on bank records and Rica’s own admissions and “established an exact amount we think is accurate.”
For more on this story, go to North Jersey.com