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.