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All for naught?

Stolen parking meter cash would have been hard to get

Posted: September 9, 2008 8:41 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Shown here are two of three parking meters stolen in Santa Monica, reportedly found in the trunk of a parolee in Canyon Country Monday.

It was a lot of work for not much money, a Santa Monica parking official said.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies arrested a Canyon Country man earlier this week after they allegedly discovered three parking meters in his trunk. They determined the meters were stolen in Santa Monica.

It was the first multiple meter heist in Santa Monica in more than 10 years, said Mike Coffman, lead parking technician at the beach city.

For good reason.

Each meter weighs some 40 to 43 pounds, Coffman said. In the case of the Canyon Country connection, the meters were hacked from their rather hefty poles.

But once done with the hack saw, the thief still has his work cut out for him: He has yet to reach the money inside.

"These things are like little vaults," Coffman said. Breaking into them is no small feat.

He's seen vandals smash rocks against the side of a meter and fail to break in. Without the key held by parking meter attendants and police, the meters are virtually impenetrable, he said.

And consider the reward, he added: Meters are emptied multiple times a week, each collecting netting about $5. It's unlikely a stolen meter would hold more than that.

Not that the thief would ever find out.

Stolen parking meters, Coffman said, are always returned with the money still inside.

Local sheriff's deputies arrested 44-year-old Richard Day of Canyon Country in connection with the theft.
Day attracted deputies' attention about 4 a.m. Monday while rummaging through castoffs left in front of the Savation Army thrift store at 17657 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Deputies questioned Day and searched his car after discovering he was on parole,
Figuring out which city was missing its meters proved relatively easy: Tags inside the little streetside vaults identified Santa Monica as their home.

Day is due in Santa Clarita Superior Court today.


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