Busch Gardens worker Richard MacBay arrested for stealing roller coaster parts

9:21 AM, Aug 4, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - Roller coasters at Busch Gardens are known for their twists and turns, but in a strange  twist, sheriff's investigators say a coaster mechanic used his job at the park to turn a buck.

Richard MacBay was arrested and charged with dealing in stolen property. Detectives say he sold roller coaster brake pads -- almost 100 pounds worth and made out of brass -- to a recycling business in Gibsonton.

Patriot Metals is a busy place and detectives are sometimes there looking through records or for people bringing in suspicious loads. And investigators say that's exactly what happened last Friday when MacBay came in with nearly 100 pounds of brass plates.

"They noticed some unique items that were being placed in the bin to be sold,"says Corporal Steve Billor of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

While the coaster brake pads are certainly unusual, metal thefts are not. Air conditioner coils are a popular target for thieves and with the price of copper now high, Billor says they're seeing a spike in the crime.

That's one reason District IV in Ruskin created a special summer detail to concentrate on metal thefts. In the past six weeks, deputies have made 38 arrests.

"We're going both ways... either looking for guys on site as they're disposing of it (stolen metal) and we're also doing surveillances on known suspects or locations where they might be stealing," says Billor.

So what does this crime mean for roller coaster riders at Busch Gardens? In a written statement Busch Gardens states, "None of the parts stolen were in use on any active ride, and guest safety was at no time compromised."

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