A man suspected of robbing vending machines was caught Friday by La Crosse police with a car full of change.
Police investigated a theft on Sept. 9 from a Snapple vending machine at Doyle TV, where the door had been left open. Surveillance video showed a man get out of a vehicle with distinctive chrome rims and open the machine and remove the change box.
On Friday, the officer spotted the vehicle on Rose Street and stopped it. Inside police found the passenger-side floorboard covered in change and a glove box stuffed with dollar bills, according to police reports.
The driver, 27-year-old Sean Trathen of Melrose Park, Ill., had 24 vending machine keys in his front pocket and said he’d entered machines between Chicago and La Crosse but didn’t know where or how much he’d taken, according to the report.
Officers found $226 one-dollar bills and $248.46 in change inside the vehicle, along with a marijuana grinder.
According to the report, Trathen told officers the keys were his from a previous job and that he’d been using them to steal from vending machines because he’s low on money and unemployed.
Trathen was charged Monday in La Crosse County Circuit Court with misdemeanor theft and entry to a locked coin box as well as possession of drug paraphernalia.