Twenty people are facing criminal charges in connection with an alleged crime of felony theft. The 20 defendants are employees of a parking garage in Cleveland, Ohio, and they supposedly conspired to steal money from the garage. If convicted of the criminal offense, they could each receive between one and five years in prison.
Here, the allegations came after an executive of the company noticed that a specific parking garage was full one night. However, an activity report the next day showed that the garage had a lot of empty spaces. An investigation into the matter reportedly showed that the managers, cashiers and gatekeepers at two Cleveland garages owned by the same company had been waving cars through without recording the vehicles. Allegedly, the garage operators pocketed the cash from the drivers.
Overall, authorities claim that 20 employees stole nearly $160,000 between 2008 and 2009 through the purported scheme. However, each employee is entitled to a presumption of innocence under the Ohio judicial system. Thus, authorities will need to show in each individual case that the employee knowingly participated in the scheme.
That may be difficult to prove. Prosecutors will need to demonstrate that each of the suspects had intent to commit the felony theft. While some of the 20 garage operators may have been genuinely involved in illegal activities, other employees may not have wanted any of this to happen. Furthermore, some workers may not have known that this whole scheme was occurring. Nevertheless, those charged should consider preparing a robust defense that puts the facts in a light most favorable to them.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Downtown Cleveland parking garage workers reportedly conspire to steal nearly $160,000," Sarah Jane Tribble, March 31, 2012