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Suspect arrested for stealing thousands from gas station air-vacs

DUSON, La. (KLFY) - Duson Police have arrested a man they believe stole thousands of dollars in quarters from coin-operated machines in 7 states, including Louisiana.

Edward Little has since posted bond, but authorities believe he hit air-vac machines in Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. 

"In the middle of April of 2016, we received a complaint from 2 of our truck stop casinos, that an air machine had been compromised," said Kip Judice, Duson Police Chief.

At those truck stops the money trays had been removed. In one instance, a new lock was put on one of the air-vacs.

"I don't understand, that's kind of crazy that someone would do something like that," said Olivia Chatman. 

"You can look at about 3-400 coins a month, that is deposited in these devices," said Judice.

Investigators say Little confessed to compromising locks on coin-operated air machines in 7 states. 

"Driving from Lake Charles, Louisiana, up to Shreveport, back down all the way down to the east coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, and hitting machines all along those highways," said Judice.

Authorities say Little confessed to committing 2 of the crimes in Duson.
A search warrant also revealed he had about $15,000 worth of coins and an additional $10,000 worth of cash.

"That's a lot of quarters," said Judice.

Police say Little along with possibly the help of his brother, used open car doors to shield themselves while removing the machine's tray with the coins.
 
"Right here at the bottom of this device, there's a tray where the coins fall. So they're taking a torch, and torching off the lock, and then there's a tray that slides out with the quarters," said Judice.

Judice says he's discussed the crimes with around 45 different agencies from the places Little has already hit.

"I just received a call today from somebody from the Florida Department of law enforcement. I expect them to come on board, as most of the coins that we recovered yesterday, appears to have come from the Florida panhandle," he said.

Based on the dollar amount stolen in Duson, Little was charged with a misdemeanor, as authorities do not believe he stole more than $1000 from a single air-vac tray there. 
If he stole more than $1000 from one of the air-vacs, Little would have been charged with a felony.

Contact local law enforcement if you ever see something suspicious.
 


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