Police seeking man in Jeep Cherokee repeatedly vandalizing coin- - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Police seeking man in Jeep Cherokee repeatedly vandalizing coin-op machines


Authorities say an East Texas serial burglar is causing big damage to get small change.

Longview police say the burglar has hit at least a dozen times at selected businesses.

Just this month, they believe the thief struck at two car washes on Pine Tree Road, and another one on Gilmer Road.

Security video shows a man breaking into coin machines at J-R's car wash in Longview and taking whatever cash is inside; a man workers recognize from previous visits.

"We observed him on video on two different occasions breaking in with a pair of bolt cutters. It's usually fairly busy when he decides to make an appearance; pretty brazen. Breaking into vending machines, vacuum cleaners," says J-R's worker Clay Smith.

Three different Longview car wash businesses have been hit multiple times over the last month, with owners saying it's the same green Jeep Cherokee that pulls up, and the same man who gets out.

The suspect in this case always come prepared with a pair of bolt cutters to gain entry, and continues the burglary even with customers all around the car washes.

"We have had a few of them. Unfortunately most of the time they cause a lot more damage to the property than the few dollars they get out of the machines," says Longview police officer Kristie Brian.

"We clean the machines out daily and we do, so we're talking about two or three dollars at a time that he's getting. But he's causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, and he keeps coming back. I don't know what he's trying to accomplish except breaking machines," Smith says.

In around a dozen burglaries, the burglar has gotten away with anywhere from several hundred dollars, to just a handful of change.

"I'd be glad to give him the money if he needed it, but the fact is, you're just stealing it. We can't afford to keep replacing machines and replacing damage," says Smith.

If arrested, the suspect would only face misdemeanor charges of burglary of coin operated machines.

Anyone who has seen the suspect is asked to call Longview police.

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