Mark S. 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 about 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 money.
After admitting to some of the thefts, Gordon told police that he spent the bus money on his video poker gambling habit.
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 $1 bills, loose change and DMTS 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.
Decatur Mass 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.
Police installed a surveillance camera in the garage. At 7:44 p.m. Sept. 15, Gordon "entered the bus garage and manipulated the alarm key pad," Atkinson wrote in his statement. Sunday is a nonworking day for the bus company.
Although Gordon apparently had nothing in his possession when he entered the garage, he left "holding a light-colored bag that appeared bulging and full."
When he was questioned by police, Gordon admitted he has been visiting the bus garage since this past spring to steal money from the vaults and has been stealing money at a rate of about once every two weeks.
Gordon was an employee of the management company that handles transit operations, Decatur Transit Management, a division of First Transit Inc. of Cincinnati. He was not an employee of the city's' transit system, said Assistant City Manager Billy Tyus.
Gordon is due in circuit court for arraignment Nov. 12.
Copyright 2013 - Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill.