Crime Stoppers: Thieves hitting ice vending machines
Police say this man is robbing ice vending machines in Chattanooga and surrounding towns, and may even be pulling the same crime across state lines. The pictures are nearly as good as our promise of up to $1,000 reward and anonymity for your good tip.
Ice dispensing kiosks are a great convenience for a trip to the lake or to prep for a party, but they also make tempting targets for criminals. "If you see someone out getting ice at 2 o'clock in the morning," explained Chattanooga Police Sgt. Victor Miller, "they're probably not going on a fishing trip."
It could be they are up to something. Over the past several months, the man we see in surveillance photos has been trying to get rich in the overnight hours, police tell us, one vending machine at a time. "They've broken into Chattanooga, throughout Tennessee and Georgia and Alabama," said Sgt. Miller. "It tells us that the suspect was probably hitting laundromats, coin machines, could be where you wash your vehicle; any type of business that's going to have an automated vending machine for money, that's where he's going."
When it comes to the ice vending machines, he is not just cleverly picking a lock, either. "He is using an axe or some type of tool in order to break into the building, so it's causing extensive damage," said Miller. "So, not only is the money gone, it's also: the building is damaged."
Fortunately, in this case, we have some high-quality photos of his face. "He's a white male and we're estimating he's about 5'8"-5'9", 210 pounds," Miller described. "He's got brown eyes and a goatee."
Now that you have seen him, if you recognize him, we hope to interest you in some Crime Stoppers reward cash...and we're not talking quarters or singles, here. Up to $1,000 is on the table. "Because he's hitting Chattanooga, Cleveland, some local areas, some areas further away, but he is coming back to Chattanooga-Cleveland area and we're thinking he may be from here," Sgt. Miller said. "So, we're also hoping that by seeing this, if you see some suspicious activities, that you will help us, as well."
If you recognize the man in the pictures or you have noticed some suspicious activity in odd overnight hours around local vending machines, be it ice, drink, laundry, car wash, whatever, call Crime Stoppers. You will remain completely anonymous.
The number is: 698-3333