A Conshohocken Police sergeant was arrested Tuesday for allegedly emptying coins from borough parking meters into his pockets.
Sgt. Anthony Santoro faces theft and other related charges for a yearlong scheme where he allegedly stole coins collected from parking meters, according to Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
In July, Santoro, a 22-year veteran of the Conshohocken Police Department, was on assignment helping out parking enforcement when Police Chief Michael Orler saw Santoro taking an envelope full of coins from a police car to his personal car, according to the D.A.’s office.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Orler noticed especially how Santoro tried to “obscure and conceal his actions,” the D.A.’s office said.
The Chief then watched Santoro’s actions from July to November. On Friday the chief tipped off the D.A. and county detectives that Santoro was out emptying meters with a parking enforcement officer.
Authorities went to investigate and caught Santoro with $386.56 worth of coins inside his car, they said.
Orler was extremely disappointed in his officer:
“When something like this happens, one runs the gamut of emotion; one feels disbelief, anger and betrayal. When someone decides to cross the line of ethos of the police officer, and compromise their integrity and trustworthiness, you have the situation we have now. It is a betrayal of trust of fellow law enforcement officers and, more importantly, a betrayal of the trust the community had in him.”
Turns out Santoro was allegedly skimming handfuls from coin collection bins while the parking enforcement officer wasn’t looking.
Santoro then admitted to investigators that he began taking parking revenue starting in Oct. 2009 -- telling cops that 14 separate times he stole funds, according to the D.A.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman was appalled by the allegations:
“There is no greater betrayal of the community than when a law enforcement officer becomes a criminal. Acts like those alleged here serve to undermine the public trust in police officers and unfairly tarnish the reputations of the countless of hard-working, dedicated, honest, professional law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line and serve our community on a daily basis. The public has a right to expect that police officers will hold themselves to the same laws they enforce. A corrupt police officer is a disgrace to the badge that should represent honor, integrity and service.”
In May 2009 Santoro was interviewed by NBC10's Deanna Durante after he was credited with stopping a would-be robbery.
"It's a cop's dream to find something like that," he said at the time.
Now he is the one who was caught.
Santoro will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on 14 charges on theft, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and receiving stolen property.
Fan, follow and download: Get the latest from NBCPhiladelphia.com anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and NBC Philadelphia. Sign up for our breaking news newsletter. And, get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text PHIBREAKING to 639710 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)