Vending machine bandit wanted by UAPD, public encouraged to help
An unknown man has been targeting vending machines at the Student Union Memorial Center, using a key to access the machines and steal the money inside. The University of Arizona Police Department is hoping security photos taken of the man may lead to his identification and arrest.
The man has been linked to two incidents of burglary on Dec. 7. The thefts were not discovered until Dec. 8 and 9.
According to a press release, the man is described as being approximately 25-30 years old, 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds.
Using a key, the man was able to access the vending machines. UAPD Public Information Officer Cindy Spasoff estimated that the amount taken was likely less than $200, as the machines hold a limited amount of cash.
Spasoff said because the thief uses a key and is not physically damaging the machines during the theft, it is harder to determine exactly how many machines he has targeted.
“Really, I think this is probably a bigger issue that we just haven’t recognized yet … I’m sure that these aren’t the only two vending machines on campus that he has targeted,” Spasoff said.
There is currently no known affiliation between the man and the university.
Spasoff theorized that these cases could be related to similar cases of a man using a key to rob vending machines around Tucson, citing a recent news story by KVOA reporter Nick VinZant.
“I think that there are probably several cases of this incident happening in other locations, but I only have two that I know of on campus for sure,” Spasoff said.
UAPD officers are looking into the off-campus incidents of theft to see if there is a connection.
For now, officers are hoping that a member of the public may be able to identify the man and put an end to his burglary spree.
“If our students are paying for goods that are in the vending machine … I feel like it’s taking the students’ money in a roundabout way,” Spasoff said.
People who think they may have information on the suspect can call UAPD Detective Sergeant Alan Nelson at (520) 621-8273. Those who wish to report information anonymously can call (520) 88-CRIME.
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