Man accused in parking meter theft takes plea deal

Toni Yates reports from Ridgewood.
March 19, 2014 3:26:20 PM PDT
A man accused of stealing nearly a half-million dollars from parking meters has accepted a plea bargain that will allow him to avoid jail time.

Thomas Rica, a former employee of the village of Ridgewood, N.J., allegedly stole $460,000 over several years. According to the agreement, he must repay the city using his retirement/pension, as well as money from his father and brother.

A statement from the village said the mayor and the council have been following the case closely.

"We will work closely with the Prosecutor's Office and available legal remedies to recoup as much of the financial loss as possible," the statement said. "We have and will continue to make sure that the additional security steps taken since Mr. Rica's arrest remain sound and effective."

The mayor of Ridgewood, Paul Aronsohn, called the crime " outrageous and seemingly incomprehensible" in a statement. He supported hiring "an independent outside firm to conduct a forensic review of all relevant processes and procedures."