Vending machines, coin vacuums targeted in Lincoln

2012-08-02T07:00:00Z Vending machines, coin vacuums targeted in LincolnBy NICHOLAS BERGIN / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Authorities in Lincoln are investigating an outbreak of vandalism and theft from vending machines and coin-operated vacuums.

Lincoln police have gotten 22 reports of theft or attempted theft from machines since July 19.

Thieves made away with a total of $1,416 and did about $2,230 in damage, Officer Katie Flood said.

“These recent offenses are a significant increase,” she said.

Police received no reports of theft from coin-operated machines the first two weeks of July and only nine similar reports from January through June.

Authorities have released photos taken from surveillance video of two suspects.

Video shows one of them on three different occasions popping the lock on a soda machine at the Jet Splash at 27th Street and Dan Avenue. After one of the thefts, he gets into the passenger side of a dark-colored SUV and leaves. 

He hit the machine most recently at 8:40 p.m. Sunday.

Jet Splash Manager DJ McGerr called the thefts an annoyance and said a metal bar has been added to the machine to prevent future loss.

“I’m just surprised somebody would go out of their way to take 50-odd dollars out of a vending machine,” he said.

The other person caught on video wore a black baseball cap and carried a backpack of tools. Incident reports list padlocks cut, doors pried open and locks drilled.

Video footage of one theft shows him leaving in a white pickup.

Reach Nicholas Bergin at 402-473-7304 or nbergin@journalstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSBergin.

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