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NEW CASTLE Man faces charges in meter theft



Published: Fri, June 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Records from 1997 to 1999 show there were four bank deposits made from parking meters in the South Mercer Street garage.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A former New Castle Parking Authority employee was ordered to stand trial on theft charges.

Police say John Cubbal Jr., 49, of East Friendship Street, along with former parking authority director Donald Pallerino, 56, of Naples, Fla., and his son, John, 28, of Cape Coral, Fla., took money from parking meters at the South Mercer Street garage from February 1997 to August 1999.

The Pallerinos were ordered to stand trial after April preliminary hearings on charges of fraud and receiving stolen property.

Cubbal appeared Thursday for his preliminary hearing before District Justice David Rishel. He remains free on $2,000 bond.

Ted Saad, interim parking authority director since March 2000, testified that the parking authority board of directors asked him to look at records from the previous three years after learning there was a $20,000 increase in revenue in the first eight months he was on the job.

Few deposits: Saad said he examined records dating to 1996 and found four deposits were made from the parking meters at the South Mercer Street garage.

The six-floor garage has parking meters on the first floor and parking spaces on the other floors are rented monthly.

Trooper Joseph Vascetti of the Pennsylvania State Police said he examined bank records and found those four deposits totaled $779.35. No bank deposits were made from the South Mercer Street garage in 1997, three in 1998 and one in January 1999, he said.

Saad said there were weekly deposits made from meters in the six other parking lots and city streets in that same time frame.

Two parking authority employees testified that only Cubbal and the Pallerinos would empty the meters in the South Mercer Street garage from February 1997 to August 1999.

John Liskooka and Louis Baumgartner, both ticket enforcement officers for the authority, said they saw Cubbal taking money from meters in the parking garage and putting it in his personal vehicle. Both testified they followed Cubbal from the parking garage to the Draft House, a bar owned by Donald and John Pallerino.

Liskooka and Baumgartner said they can't remember the date they saw Cubbal in the garage, but say it was before he had a heart attack in 1996.

Counting coins: Both men also testified they saw Cubbal counting money from a bag used to collect coins from parking meters at his desk. They said it was parking authority policy to empty the machines and take the bags directly to the bank where tellers would tally the money.

Cubbal's attorney Joseph J. Kearney argued that Cubbal was the Pallerinos' employee and was doing what he was told.

He also argued that policy changes were responsible for the increased revenue after Saad took over as director.

Kearney also added that a token machine, which is no longer in the parking garage, generated revenue that didn't go directly to the bank. It was regularly emptied by two employees and counted in the parking authority office, he said.

"The ticket policy is different, there is a new director and they don't have a token machine now. Couldn't that account for the difference?" Kearney said.

cioffi@vindy.com




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