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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 3, March 2013, Posted On: 2/22/2013

Washington Police Believe Vending Bandits Have Inside Expertise

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending machine break-ins, vending thief, vending thief, Washington state vending thefts, Clover Park Technical College, Lakewood Police Department, inside job, Canteen Vending

LAKEWOOD, WA -- Surveillance cameras at Clover Park Technical College here caught a band of vending thieves who appear to have inside industry knowledge breaking into machines and stealing money.

The Lakewood Police Department said the team is led by a man who uses a screwdriver to open locks, then steals the bills and coins before closing and locking machines. They believe he might have been involved in the vending industry, possibly as a route driver or technician, based on his ability to open and relock machine doors, and his knowledge of where to access the money and speed at doing so.

Police are hoping someone will recognize the coat worn by the man, which has a Nike swoosh emblem on the back. He is described as having long, scraggly gray hair, but covers his face around cameras.

Investigators said Canteen Vending officials claim the same method has been used to break into many of its machines across Pierce County for the past several months. In many cases, it takes weeks before the break-ins are detected, since there is no visual indication that they've been burglarized.

See the alleged vandals in action by clicking here.

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