SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco cable car conductor has been arrested for allegedly pocketing riders’ fares, authorities said.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employee Albert Williams, 61, of Napa County, was arrested on suspicion of felony misappropriation of public money and embezzlement, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

He’s being held at the county jail on $50,000 bail, according to jail records.

Officers with the San Francisco Police Department’s Muni Task Force began an investigation about two months ago after Muni officials reported the theft.

During the investigation, officers identified Williams as a suspect, police said.

As a cable car conductor, Williams was responsible for accepting cash fares, issuing receipts and turning in the collected fares at the end of each of shift.

The investigation revealed that Williams was allegedly stealing cash he collected from cable car riders and then using various methods to conceal the true amount of cash collected, allowing him to keep hundreds of
dollars in cash monthly, according to the district attorney’s office.

“The suspect’s conduct represents a violation of public trust,” police Chief William Scott said in a statement. “Our investigators moved quickly to gather evidence and build an extensive case to present to the District Attorney’s Office,” Scott said.

Muni’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement Wednesday, “As soon as we learned of improper activity, we referred the matter to our law enforcement partners, were able to identify a bad actor, and are moving now to ensure he no longer represents this agency and city on our iconic cable cars.”

Reiskin said, “Going forward we will immediately enhance management and oversight of our cash fare transactions and will explore long-term options such as eventually removing cash as an on-board payment option for our cable car system.”

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments (3)
  1. Removing cash as a payment option would be a major mistake. It would eliminate boarding anywhere other than at the either end of of each line. What’s needed is better monitoring and harsher penalties. Maybe even a state law making it a felony for a transit agency employee to steal fares.

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