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Local residents receive probation for stealing parking fees

A skier makes his way along Asbury Avenue in Asbury Park during the first major snow storm of the year on January 23.

Four former employees of the New Brunswick Parking Authority will be placed on probation for stealing more than $500 in parking fees from the city agency.

Karran Buchhan, 19, of the Somerset section of Franklin Township; Joshue Castillo-Mendoza, 25, of the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, and Ferrad West, 23, of East Brunswick, pleaded guilty to a third-degree count of conspiracy to commit theft on March 6, according to a statement released by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

In addition, Atis Mir-Merced, 19, of the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, but will be permitted to enter the Pre-Trial Intervention program for first offenders.

The four had been charged with plotting to take cash payments from New Brunswick Parking Authority customers to park cars illegally between Jan. 1 and March 4, 2016, according to Carey.

During the investigation, Detective Harry Lemmerling of the New Brunswick Police Department determined that the four employees worked as parking valets at two Dennis Street restaurants and conspired to sell parking spots to motorists, whose cars were parked at the Wolfson parking deck.

Under agreements reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine D’Elia, each of the four defendants also will pay the parking authority $200 in restitution and will be forever barred from holding a public job, according to the statement.

The four are scheduled to be sentenced in New Brunswick to probationary terms on May 22 by Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas.


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