Meseret Terefe pleads guilty to stealing Air and Space parking fees

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A former parking lot attendant at the Smithsonian's Air and Space annex in Chantilly has pleaded guilty to stealing at least $400,000 in parking fees.

Meseret Terefe of Silver Spring, Md., is one of three lot attendants at the Udvar-Hazy Center who was charged with stealing parking fees in August.

Terefe is the first to plead guilty. In court papers filed Friday in federal court in Alexandria with Terefe's plea agreement, he says a supervisor at the parking contractor, PMI, found out about the thefts and demanded half the money.

The thefts occurred for more than three years. Visitors pay a $15 fee; Terefe admitted unplugging vehicle counters to manipulate the count so he could steal anywhere from $1,800 to $4,500 a shift.