Nickel and Dimed: Meters Smashed in MoCo

Police investigating string of parking meter thefts

By Mark Stephens
|  Saturday, Apr 3, 2010  |  Updated 10:31 AM EDT
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Meters Smashed, Money Stolen

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Meters Smashed, Money Stolen

Police investigate a string of parking meter thefts in Montgomery County.
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A bunch of nickel and dime robberies could end up costing taxpayers in Montgomery County thousands of dollars.

Since Sunday, nearly 70 parking meters in Bethesda and Silver Spring have been damaged or destroyed in smash-and-grab thefts.

Each meter holds less than $100. Police said the thieves may have gotten as little as $2 in some cases. "It's not a lot of bang for your buck," said Corporal Dan Friz with the Montgomery County Police. "Smashing these meters with a sledgehammer to get that return. It's really not worth it."

But the cost to the taxpayer though is substantial. Each meter costs $200 to $300 to replace, putting the cost to repair the damage at up to $20,000.

Police said they have no idea who's responsible, and they're asking the public for help. "If anybody at the local area grocery store sees somebody walk in with 40 pounds of quarters, and dumps it in the Coinstar machine," said Fitz, "give us a call, please!"

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