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Officials uncover scheme to accept cash to park cars illegally


Four employees of the New Brunswick Parking Authority have been charged in a conspiracy to allegedly take cash payments from customers to park their cars illegally.

Three employees were charged with bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit theft: Atis Mir-Merced, 18, and Joshue Castillo-Mendoza, 24, both of Kendall Park; and Karran Buchhan, 25, of the Somerset section of Franklin township, according to a statement prepared by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department. Bail was set at $7,500 each for Mir-Merced and Castillo-Mendoza and $10,000 for Buchhan.

The fourth employee, Ferrad West, 22, of East Brunswick, was charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit theft. Bail was set at $2,500, according to the statement.

The four were charged during an investigation that began after parking authority officials learned of the thefts and contacted the New Brunswick Police Department. The thefts, which reportedly began on Feb. 14, were uncovered through an anti-theft policy that was established by the parking authority, officials said.

During the investigation, Detective Thierry Lemmerling of the New Brunswick Police Department determined that the four employees worked as parking valets at two Dennis Street restaurants and allegedly conspired to sell parking spots to motorists, who were allowed to park at the Wolfson parking deck, which is closed and earmarked for demolition.

Three of the four also allegedly paid bribes to other parking authority employees in exchange for their silence on the parking conspiracy.

The amounts of the bribes and payments for parking spaces have yet to be determined.

Anyone with information should call Lemmerling at 732-745-5217.



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