Cable Car Operator Arrested For Embezzling Fares

A Muni employee was arrested yesterday in connection with the alleged theft of fares, police said.

Cable car conductor 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 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," SFPD 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."

"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referred the matter to our law enforcement partners, were able to identify a bad actor, and are moving now to ensure he no longer represents this agency and city on our iconic cable cars," Muni's Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

"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," Reiskin said. —Daniel Montes

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