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Vending machine surveillance cameras catch vandals

12:30 AM, Mar 8, 2013   |    comments
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New technology lead to the arrest two people Wednesday night after they were caught vandalizing vending machines at the Newport Best Western Hotel.

"Happens regularly on occasion we have those groups that travel down the interstate and hit exits and try and get into vending machines as they can," said Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults.

The suspects, Jimmy R. Carnal, 33, and Melissa Noel, 26, are charged with two counts of vandalism under $500 and two counts of theft under $500. However, how they caught is unique for the department.

"We're hearing more and more that vending machine companies, like people who got property to protect, are utilizing new, electronic mini cameras," Chief Shults added.

Surveillance cameras were placed in the machine when the vandals struck the glass door on January 5, when the crime occurred. Police said from the shaking of the machine, to the opening of the door that can be seen in the footage, helped lead to the arrest.

10News was told the cameras were placed by the vending machine's owners, who Best Western management identified as JBA Vending.

"Just one of those situations where the vendor, himself, had video soon when he found out he had a burglary, he contacted us," the chief said.

He added more of these cameras could ultimately put an end to the problem altogether.

"It's a great benefit to us. Obviously, it's helping us solve burglaries, and that's what we're after here is to get these people stopped and get the vending machine operators can get the profits they're entitled to."

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