ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A city worker could be charged after an investigation found she was pocketing money from the parking collection boxes at the Albuquerque Museum.
“I was shocked. I had no idea,” says Yvonne Stokes, the owner of Grey Dog Trading in Old Town.
She’s shocked at the findings of an investigation from the city’s Inspector General. The report says an employee from the Albuquerque Museum was stealing money from the parking lot’s pay box from June through August 2019.
Stills from the museum’s security cameras show the employee arriving to work early, just to gain access to the boxes. According to the report, collecting money from the pay boxes requires at least two people at all times.
The investigation showed that employee would pocket larger bills, leave the smaller bills, and then follow collecting protocols once her co-workers got to work. She did this multiple times.
“Everybody struggles a little. If she felt the need to do it, that was her. Everybody gets their consequences in the end,” says Chris Cortez, a parking lot patron.
The Inspector General says it’s a concern that the parking lot is not monitored to see which spots are filled each day and for how long, who has paid or not, and that the money is not collected daily. In other words, there’s no way to track how much money should be in those boxes.
“You put the money in, it all goes down to the bottom, nobody knows who has paid. You don’t get a little sticker. You don’t get anything to put on your dashboard,” says Stokes.
This employee resigned. The museum and Cultural Services Department refused an on-camera interview.
A city spokesperson says since this incident, their cash collecting procedures have not changed. They rely on trusting the employees to follow the procedures.
Albuquerque police are now investigating to see if charges should be filed.
The Cultural Services Department is working to upgrade the payment system at the parking lot to do away with cash by installing card readers. That update will come in the next year.