A Metro station manager has been charged with embezzlement for allegedly collecting paper fare cards from transit customers and letting them leave the subway system through open gates, according to authorities.

Photo courtesy of Metro police. Photo courtesy of Metro police.

Kenneth Peters, 44, a station manager in Northern Virginia who has worked for the transit system since 1999, was arrested by Metro police Oct. 16, and charged with felony embezzlement, authorities said. WRC-TV (Channel 4), which first reported the arrest on its Web site, said Peters allegedly stole close to $500 in fare credits.

Peters allegedly took advantage of riders who had insufficient credits on their paper fare cards to leave the subway system. Instead of instructing them to use add-fare machines, he allegedly allowed them to leave after pocketing their fare cards.

Peters then transferred the relatively small amount of credit on each paper card to two SmarTrip cards “for the purpose of reselling them,” Metro said in a statement. He allegedly accumulated nearly $500 in credits on the SmarTrip cards.

“The fraudulent activity in this case is an affront to all Metro employees,” transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik said. Metro said Peters was suspended from his job immediately after the arrest.