Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 16, 2013

Buffalo meter mechanic to be jailed for years of thefts

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "What may have begun as a theft of nickels and dimes, in the end was the equivalent of a major bank heist," U.S. Attorney William Hochul said.

Since the arrests, the city's annual parking meter revenue has increased by more than $500,000, Helfer said.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said the investigation is not over.

"We are looking at other people," he said.

At the time of his arrest, investigators found $40,000 in cash in the ceiling of Bagarozzo's bedroom, $4,100 in a dresser and $3,000 worth of quarters in closets in bags and boxes around the house.

Prosecutors said the money allowed Bagarozzo to send his daughters to college and pay off his mortgage, but defense attorney James Harrington said virtually everything was lost at casinos.

"It was rooted really in this spiraling addiction that he had," said Harrington, who gave Arcara 138 letters of support from Bagarozzo's friends and family.

In court papers, Harrington wrote that Bagarozzo's stealing began in 2003 following a serious episode of Crohn's disease that left him believing he did not have long to live.

"He said he was worried about his wife and two teenage daughters and that they would have little if he died," the lawyer wrote.

Bagarozzo, who will be allowed to surrender voluntarily, declined to speak with reporters as he left the court surrounded by family.

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