Felony charges filed against West Jordan man in ‘Gumball Bandit’ case

Felony charges filed against West Jordan man in ‘Gumball Bandit’ case

(Mike Anderson, KSL TV, File)

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SOUTH JORDAN — A West Jordan man suspected in a bizarre theft of a gumball machine from a doctor’s office has been charged in the case.

Steven Russell Gibson, 46, was charged Friday with theft and burglary, each third-degree felonies, and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor. Those charges are the latest in a slew of charges filed against the man in 3rd District Court since May 17 in separate cases. One of the charges is another third-degree felony theft charge in relation to an April 22 theft case in West Jordan.

Gibson’s new charges are in relation to a gumball machine stolen from the Copperview Medical Center, 3556 W. 9800 South in South Jordan, shortly after midnight on May 13. Employees at the center coming into work that day noticed a broken window and a gumball machine was missing, Dr. Mary Tipton told KSL earlier this month.

The owner of the gumball machine told police the machine was worth $1,200 and had $450 worth of gumballs inside at the time, according to a police affidavit. Tipton said it also likely had a few hundred dollars worth of quarters in it. The machine also had a lot of sentimental value, she said, as it had been a fixture in the office since it opened in 2001.

“We have patients come here all the time and they like to maybe have a gumball after they have a shot,” she said. “In fact, we had a 16-year-old in tears yesterday because she couldn’t have her gumball after her shot, and she’s been doing that for 16 years.”

Staff gave surveillance video of the May 13 theft to police and posted it on social media the following day. It shows a man parking in front of the medical center, getting out of an older model passenger car, breaking into the office, taking the machine and placing it in the back row of his car. It didn’t fit in the vehicle, but he drove off with a door slightly open.

On May 16, a West Jordan police detective investigating the theft of a rental truck loading ramp interviewed Gibson and searched his apartment. There, the detective noticed two large bowls of gumballs — which he thought was odd, but not significant to the case, West Jordan Police Sgt. JC Holt told KSL.


However, the officer later came across a news article online about the gumball theft and “identified (Gibson) as the person breaking the window and stealing the gumball machine,” the affidavit stated. The detective also noticed the vehicle was the same make and model of the car Gibson owned and contacted South Jordan police with that information, the report continued.

Court records show Gibson has a lengthy criminal history in Utah, including multiple cases involving theft. In addition to charges filed in three other cases since May 17, he pleaded guilty to retail theft, a third-degree felony, in 2018 and attempted retail theft, a class A misdemeanor, in 2017.

Gibson was already in Salt Lake County Jail at the time charges were filed, according to court records.


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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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