Ever since the advent of the parking meter, there have been hoods cracking them open and stealing the coins inside. Historically, we're talking about nickels and dimes here, but while those can add up, this is a different ballgame altogether. A gang of criminals in Queensland, Australia, has been arrested for stealing a whopping $800,000 (in Australian dollars, or about $550k in American greenbacks) from local parking meters.

How'd they do it? Details aren't being disclosed while the investigation is still under way, other than to say that the elongated heist lasted for more than two years. The scheme apparently began in January 2007 and ended just last month, siphoning about $8 (again, about $5.50 USD) from some 1,900 parking meters every week. Local officials say they knew something was fishy when a new initiative that saw increased parking meter revenues eventually starting petering out, but the officials are themselves not suspected of involvement in the crime.

[Source: The Sydney Morning Herald | Image: Jack Esten/Getty]