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Jeannette parking lot proceeds missing

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By Richard Gazarik
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

The safe in the Jeannette parking lot office apparently wasn't secure enough for an attendant who allegedly took proceeds home for safekeeping and then told city officials the money was stolen, officials said.

The employee raised suspicion by giving “at least three conflicting stories” about the money's disappearance, Mayor Richard Jacobelli said.

The $336 should have stayed in a secure safe in the parking lot office, he said.

Police Chief Shannon Binda said the investigation has been turned over to Westmoreland County detectives as a possible theft.

Jacobelli said the lot attendant told police he didn't think the safe was secure and was concerned about being robbed, so he took the cash home for safekeeping.

Then he said the money disappeared when he took it with him to Kittanning, where he attended a funeral. The employee later told authorities the cash was stolen while he carried it in a backpack in Pittsburgh's Oakland section. Jacobelli said the employee did not file a theft report with police in Pittsburgh.

About May 15, the employee reported the alleged theft to Jeannette officials.

The city last month began charging for parking in the lot to bring in much-needed revenue. The city hired two employees.

It's not the first time Jeannette has had a problem keeping track of money.

A 2012 audit revealed the city lacked internal controls and used a sloppy accounting system that raised the risk of errors and fraud. It allowed employees to withdraw cash without prior approval, opening the way for potential theft, according to auditors.

Earlier this year, a contractor was sentenced to probation for keeping $65,000 from the city in 2005 for a recreation building that was never delivered.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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