METRO VANCOUVER – Two men have been charged with stealing 80,000 TransLink FareSaver tickets from the shredding company where they were employed.
James Gordon Hemenway, 40, of Vancouver, and Patrick Robert Parry, 46, of Surrey, have been charged with one count each of theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.
The one-, two- and three-zone tickets, prepaid transit passes worth an estimated $153,000, were picked up and sent to be shredded at Urban Impact Recycling’s Richmond facility after an April 2010 fare increase.
TransLink still honours these old FareSaver tickets as full fares and spokesman Ken Hardie said before a fare increase there is usually a rush of people scooping up the soon-to-be-outdated tickets.
Transit police said they received a tip several months ago that these tickets were being sold for a reduced price on the black market and began an investigation. Police would not say how many tickets were sold.
“They eventually made their way to the street,’ said Transit Police Insp. Brian MacDonald. “A bunch of people would end up buying them, eventually, through the chain that they had set up.”
Hardie said TransLink only shreds large amounts about once every three years and that in future a TransLink employee will be on site during any bulk shredding.
“The FareSavers had been printed prior to the increase,” Hardie said. “I don’t know the actual time from when [those charged] removed them from the shredder company to when [the passes] hit the streets.”
Urban Impact Recycling founder and CEO Nicole Stefenelli said her firm is still handling TransLink’s documents and that the two accused no longer work for the company.
“The risks, generally, with information are that it is kept secure and, very simply, destroyed completely,” Stefenelli said.
MacDonald said the possession or sale of stolen FareSavers is an offence and it is illegal for passengers to buy tickets from anyone other than a licensed vendor.
Hemenway and Parry are scheduled to appear in a Vancouver court in December.