Man steals nearly $200,000 in quarters

Posted at 8:03 PM, Mar 08, 2016

An Alabama man admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from the federal government — in quarters. 

Brink's in Birmingham, Alabama, stores cash and coins for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Quarters are kept in ballistic bags, with each one containing $50,000. During an inventory check in April 2014, officials realized $196,000 in quarters was missing.

Stephen Lancaster Dennis worked for Brink's in 2014. He stole the money by taking all but $1,000 in quarters from each bag, and he replaced the missing coins with beads. The coins he didn't steal were specifically placed in view of the bag's plastic window.

So, $196,000 in quarters is 784,000 coins. With each quarter weighing 5.67 grams, that's nearly 5 tons of quarters.

The FBI linked the theft to Dennis, and the U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Alabama charged him with one count of bank theft. Dennis agreed to enter a guilty plea and now must reimburse the bank for every quarter he stole. 

An FBI special agent involved in the case said, "What Mr. Dennis may have thought was a nickel and dime theft was, in the end, the equivalent of a major bank heist."

Dennis faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This video includes images from Sam Howzit / CC BY 2.0Nesster / CC BY 2.0meesh / CC BY 2.0schadenfreude lola / CC BY ND 2.0Gord Webster / CC BY SA 2.0 and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and video from Brink's and the U.S. Mint.