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Man pleads to $1.4M in Smithsonian parking thefts

Friday - 4/19/2013, 1:38pm  ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A former parking manager at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Air and Space annex in Chantilly has pleaded guilty to stealing roughly $1.4 million in parking fees.

Thirty-three-year-old Abeselom Hailemariam pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Alexandria. He's is the third person convicted in a theft scheme that ran from 2009 through 2012.

Visitors to the center pay $15 to park. Hailemariam and others would unplug vehicle counters so they could under-report the money due.

The Alexandria resident worked for a contractor, PMI, that runs multiple parking facilities in the region.

The others who were convicted received sentences of about two years in prison. Hailemariam will be sentenced in July and faces up to five years.

In all, authorities believe that more than $1.5 million was stolen.


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