Norwalk probing suspected beach fee thefts

Reports of gate receipts being stolen have surfaced at Calf Pasture Beach.
Reports of gate receipts being stolen have surfaced at Calf Pasture Beach.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling confirmed Wednesday that the city is investigating suspected theft of cash at the Calf Pasture Beach gate.

Rilling said the alleged thefts came to light Monday morning. He did not know how much money is involved, as the probe in just beginning.

“There are six instances that we know of,” he said late Wednesday afternoon, explaining that the thefts involved giving beach-goers $10 tickets while collecting $20 or $30 and pocketing the difference. The thefts have occurred over “the past couple weeks,” he said, and acknowledged it may have been going on longer. “We don’t know yet.”

The people suspected of taking the cash have been reassigned, he said.

Rilling said he spoke Wednesday morning with Recreation and Parks Director Mike Mocciae, who told him he was “looking into it.”

“I told him this is a criminal matter, and to report it to police and let them look into it,” Rilling said. “This involves municipal funds. You take one penny, it’s a felony.”

While local residents can obtain a free beach pass, others must pay to use the facilities. According to the city website, the nonresident parking fee is $25 per car on weekdays before 5 p.m., $30 per car on weekends before 5 p.m., and $10 after 5 p.m. Passes are available at the beach and may be paid for with cash.

“I’ve always been concerned about taking cash,” said Rilling, a 41- year police officer who spent 17 years as Norwalk chief. “Handling large amounts of cash is always risky. …. You take people who aren’t making much money to begin with, and the temptation is there.”

Rilling said he would prefer to have cellphone card-swiper or something similar to eliminate the cash transactions.

“It would slow things down, maybe too much,” he said. “It might not be the best answer.” But, he said, the city needs to find a better way to handle the payments.



6 responses to “Norwalk probing suspected beach fee thefts”

  1. One and Done

    Sounds like another city employee is about to get paid leave and keep their pension.

  2. piethein

    Cash ? DUH ?

  3. Oldtimer

    While they are at it, it would be good to know how the cash parking fees for Island Belle customers, and non-resident launching fees at Veteran’s park have been accounted for. Cash payment systems require very careful accounting systems to prevent theft. Numbered ticket/receipt systems can be helpful.

  4. Ryan

    WOW what a surprise

  5. Scott

    As far as i know the people that work the gate at the beach are seasonal employees who do not receive benefits and should not reflect on our full time employees

  6. Casey Smith

    OldTimer – If you want the answer to your question, ask Harbor Master Griffin. I believe that there is a numbered ticket system in use.

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