When I inquired after the reason for the handheld scanner, they informed me that it was to see how much money had gone through the meter. "Down to the very nickel. 'cause we had a person who tried to steal money from meters."
But the problem with that is that their method was rather inexact - all the money from each meter went into a can. While they'd know if some money was missing from a row of meters, they wouldn't be able to figure out exactly which one. I guess that isn't all that important though - the knowing of exactly which meter was robbed...
Also, it looks like the way the meters are designed, it'd be impossible to only take a portion of the contents - The meters open upwards, and coins immediately fell into the can he held below it.
Not too sure why one would try stealing from meters, you'd have to rob the entire city's meters in order to get enough change to really do anything. A better waste of time would be to find some way to replicate that dongle that you shove into the meter, so at least you get free parking.
Or, get a universal remote (Hm, TV-B-Gone) and flash it at the meters to see if you could clear them meters.
Although I was rather surprised 'bout the scanner - I had assumed that they would have hooked the meters up to a network - obviously, the meters are getting power from power that runs up the meter-pole thingie, why not hook them up to some network while they're at it?