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'Gumball Bandit' identified by West Jordan detectives working different theft case

(Photo courtesy Copper View Medical Center)


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SOUTH JORDAN — A man suspected of stealing gumballs from a South Jordan doctor's office in mid-May has been identified with help from some observant West Jordan police detectives working another theft case, authorities said Tuesday.

Steven Russell Gibson 46, of West Jordan, is suspected of theft in that case, West Jordan Police Sgt. JC Holt said. Gibson was already booked into Salt Lake County Jail in relation to other cases, according to jail records.

On May 13, employees at the Copper View Medical Center released a surveillance video that shows a man parked in front of the building early that morning. The man is seen smashing a window and grabbing a gumball machine. The footage was discovered after employees noticed the window damage and missing machine when the came to work later in the morning.

A break in the case came when West Jordan police were investigating a separate theft case, Holt said. Police happened to be searching Gibson’s apartment on May 16 in connection with a theft reported on April 22.

According to a charging document, detectives found clothing that linked him to surveillance video of a man exiting a pickup truck at 2729 W. 9000 South and stealing a loading ramp from a Budget transportation truck. Gibson denied he was the man in the video but said he sold the ramp to a recycling business for $30, according to a police affidavit.

Holt said detectives also noticed two large bowls of gumballs during that search. While detectives thought it was odd, there wasn’t any significance to it until they saw a news story about the stolen gumball machine the following day, Holt added. That information was then forwarded to South Jordan police for their investigation, where Gibson was linked.

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South Jordan police didn’t immediately respond back to KSL’s call seeking comment in the case.

Gibson has a lengthy criminal history, according to Utah court records. Court records show he has been charged in three different cases in 3rd District Court over the past 11 days.

On May 17, he was charged with theft, a third-degree felony, and criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor, in connection with the April 22 theft case. That same day, he was also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony, as well as possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor, in connection with a Dec. 2018 incident.

On May 21, he was charged with possession of a forgery writing or device, a third-degree felony, in relation to a March 25 incident.

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