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WHAT: An independent contractor who collects money from Tampa parking meter kiosks arrested for pocketing parking meter funds.

WHEN: Thursday, June 28

WHO: Ruben Andino-Cardona, 32

WHERE: Channelside Drive Parking Garage

Tampa Police detectives have arrested an independent contractor whose job it was to collect funds from Tampa parking meters, after it was discovered that the man pocketed thousands of dollars from the payment kiosks over the past several weeks.

Ruben Andino-Cardona, 32, was arrested Thursday, June 30, and charged with grand theft and organized fraud.

The case began in mid-June when an official in the City of Tampa Parking Division contacted Tampa Police regarding a pattern of thefts from parking payment kiosks at City parking garages. At that time, the thefts totaled more than $2,000. TPD and City officials agreed on a plan to place marked bills in selected kiosks and conduct surveillance on the contractors whose job it is to collect the parking fee money from the kiosks.

When one of the kiosks came up short again on June 30, reaching a total of more than $4,000, TPD detectives interviewed the contractors. Detectives searched Andino-Cardona, and the missing currency was discovered hidden under the ballistic vest he was wearing. The currency matched the serial numbers of the currency placed in the kiosks by detectives. Andino-Cardona was arrested without incident.

A photograph is attached.