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Brake Pads Stolen From Busch Gardens Roller Coaster

An employee allegedly stole brass plates used as brake pads for roller coasters. Park officials say the materials were out of service and guest safety wasn't compromised.

rides technician Richard MacBay was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on July 29 after stealing brass plates from the park and attempting to recycle them at Patriot Metals in Gibsonton.

According to the sheriff’s office, the 97 pounds of plates were valued at $1,100. The materials, which were used as brake pads for roller coasters, have been returned to Busch Gardens.

Jill Revelle, spokesperson for Busch Gardens, said park staff is not doing any media interviews at this time. A statement released by the park Wednesday afternoon said the stolen parts were out of service.

“None of the parts stolen were in use on any active ride, and guest safety was at no time compromised,” the statement reads.

MacBay, 36, of Riverview, was questioned by deputies on how he obtained the materials, the sheriff’s office said. MacBay eventually told them that he took the scrap metal from his job without permission.

The Tampa Police Department has charged MacBay for the theft. Other charges include dealing in stolen property and false information on secondary metals recycling.

According to the Busch Gardens statement, park officials are working closely with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department in the ongoing investigation.

“Busch Gardens has zero tolerance for theft and takes these matters very seriously,” the statement reads. “This arrest is further proof that our internal security measures work.”

MacBay has been a rides tech at the park since 2009. According to arrest records, he was released July 30 on $19,000 bond.

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