HOUSTON—Three employees are charged for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from paid parking machines in the Texas Medical Center, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
An investigation concluded the men took the money over a 7-month period between June 2010 and January 2011.
Authorities said 26-year-old Koffi Gnagby was an armed guard of the "Pay on Foot" parking lot when he allegedly began stealing money from the company.
The company said Gnagby’s job was to service and restock the parking machines with cash, but kept a great deal of money for himself. Two more suspects, Lee Hart and Jose Rodriguez, were also in on the crime, according to investigators.
The investigation began when the director of internal auditing discovered large amounts of cash, particularly five dollar bills, was missing from the parking machines. She reviewed surveillance video from Texas Children’s Hospital and witnessed Gnagby taking money from the machines at the time he was supposed to be restocking them.
The director then tracked Gnagby’s movements on January 21, checking all the machines he serviced.
She noticed all machines were short several hundred dollars, but the computer was programmed to show the machine was "full."
She called to notify Gnagby’s employer, Triple D Security, of the findings.
The director drove to the security company to talk to the manager and wait for Gnagby. When Gnagby arrived, the manager confronted him with the allegations and asked him to empty his pockets. The manager said Gnagby had several bundles of cash inside his pants and jacket pockets, more inside a backpack in the armored truck and even more inside his personal vehicle. In total, Gnagby had $6,985 cash on him that day.
Further investigation led the company to suspect that Hart and Rodriguez were also stealing funds. The company said Rodriguez was also an armed guard and Hart was employed by the Texas Medical Center as a service repair technician for the parking machines.
All of the suspects had keys to the machines that were missing money.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office charged the men with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, a felony offense. Their bonds have each been set at $100,000.