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Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer is charging Upper Darby Township’s director of parking enforcement Sekela Mungai Coles with unlawful taking, theft by deception, and receiving stolen property.
In Monday’s press release, the District Attorney’s Office said these felony and misdemeanor charges relate to the “diversion of funds collected from parking meters.”
“The defendant was entrusted with one of the basic functions of government – collecting parking meter money and depositing the cash. However, rather than acting in the best interest of the citizens of Upper Darby, the defendant is alleged to have taken a portion of the parking meter cash and used it for the purchase of food, birthday cakes, office parties, and restaurant trips for the defendant and her staff. This kind of behavior erodes public trust and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Stollsteimer said.
The District Attorney’s Office is also accusing Coles of voiding eight parking tickets of family members as part of its months-long investigation into Upper Darby Parking Enforcement.
According to investigators, unnamed citizen informants told detectives in February that they witnessed an employee take six Brinks Dunbar bags used for collecting coins from meters and place them in her vehicle. They also saw paper conversion receipts on her desk.
“The receipt indicated that a deposit of coin in the amount of $2,290 had been converted to paper currency. An envelope of cash in the amount of $1,730 was located on [the employee’s] desk,” the press release said.
An informant also told investigators that parking staff was directed to give all coin bags to the employee — against UDPE policy. After obtaining a search warrant and gathering more evidence, detectives questioned the employee in late April.
“[The employee] admitted that under the direction of the defendant, she took coins to her personal bank, the PFFCU, and converted them into paper currency,” the press release said. “She stated that she then took the money to the defendant who would count the money and [the employee] would store the money in her desk.”