DECATUR — Mark Gordon, maintenance supervisor for the Decatur Mass Transit System, was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in bus fares during the past three years.
Gordon, 56, who was in the supervisory position since March 15, 2010, was arrested at 2 a.m. Saturday after Decatur police detectives conducted an investigation in which they captured him on surveillance video entering the bus garage repeatedly on nighttime visits and leaving with bags of loot.
At the time of his arrest, detectives stopped Gordon’s SUV after he exited the bus garage and found “a large canvas bag that contained numerous one dollar bills, loose change and bus fare coins,” said an affidavit by Decatur police detective James Atkinson.
After he was booked into the Macon County Jail on preliminary felony charges of theft of more than $100,000 from a governmental agency and burglary, Gordon’s bond was set Sunday at $50,000. He was released from custody after posting $5,000 cash bail later that day.
Transit administrator Paul McChancy contacted police Aug. 5 after an audit showed a $96,956 discrepancy between indications based on rider statistics and actual revenue, said the police statement.
The bus company should have collected $340,149 during fiscal year 2012-13, which ended April 30, but instead took in $243,193. The missing funds represented about 28.5 percent of the indicated gross receipts.
Reviews of the previous years revealed a shortfall of almost $43,000 in 2011-12, and almost $33,000 in 2010-11. Decatur police estimate the total theft by Gordon at $172,849.
Detectives discovered that keys to the bus vaults, in which the fares were collected, were stored in the office of the bus company’s maintenance supervisor. Reviews of the logs of the garage’s security system revealed frequent recurring deactivations during the hours of midnight to 3 a.m.
Detectives installed a surveillance camera in the garage. At 7:44 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, Gordon “entered the bus garage and manipulated the alarm key pad,” Atkinson wrote in his statement. Sunday is a non-working day for the bus company.
Although Gordon apparently had nothing in his possession when he entered the garage, he left while “holding a light-colored bag that appeared bulging and full.”
When he was questioned by police, Gordon admitted that he has been visiting the bus garage since this past spring to steal money from the bus vaults and that he has been stealing money at a rate of about once every two weeks.
It is questionable whether officials will be able to recover any more stolen funds from Gordon.
“Gordon stated that he used the stolen money to support his video poker machine gambling habit,” said the police statement.
A call to the transit system was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Gordon is due in circuit court for his arraignment Nov. 12.