Vending Machine Thief Takes Thousands from Owner

Vending Machine Thief Takes Thousands from Owner


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Crime Specialist Karen Scullin reportingIt's been a year now, but a West Jordan man hopes you can help him wrap up his vending machine mystery.

Jim Allen has hundreds of vending machines in Salt Lake County schools that keep getting robbed, costing him thousands of dollars.

When school surveillance video didn't help turn up a suspect, Jim Allen took it upon himself to get a good shot of the guy. So take a look, he needs your help, and there is a reward.

It's snacks and sodas for students, but a gold mine for one very determined thief.

Now, new hidden cameras inside various vending machines catch the bad guy on tape. He's fast, he's bold, and he's been at it for more than a year. Right here he's breaking in to steal the money.

"(He) ducks in and out, waits, waits for his right time and walks up to the machine and jimmies them and he's inside," Allen says.

He shuts the door and moves on to the next machine, hoping his key will fit the lock on the next one.

Last school year, Jim Allen lost $32,000 between the stolen cash and replacing the locks. So far this year it's an $1,100 investment.

"You change locks, and he goes and pries the lock out of the machine and takes it and makes a key, so changing the locks is not the answer," Allen says.

The thief has been caught on school security cameras. He's reportedly even talked with people inside the schools. Investigators say he could be making a career out of ripping off the machines, or he may be supporting a drug habit.

"You're just out the money. And so they actually end up putting you out of business while they're supporting their habits and you go out with them," Allen says.

If you know who the suspect in this picture is, please call the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office at 801-743-7000, or Granite School Police at 801-481-7122.

Allen says he's offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

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