Alleged vending machine thief arrested

2012-03-09T10:05:00Z 2012-05-23T17:47:51Z Alleged vending machine thief arrestedBILL NOVAK | The Capital Times | bnovak@madison.com madison.com

A man arrested Wednesday night for allegedly breaking into a near east side vending machine was arrested numerous times in the past for the same crime.

Earnest Vasser III, 40, no permanent address, was tentatively charged with entry into a locked coin box, criminal damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia, Madison police said in a news release.

The alleged vending machine break-in was reported at 10:46 p.m. Wednesday in front of Scooter Therapy, Inc., 12 N. Few St.

According to police, someone saw Vasser using a metal rod to pry open a vending machine. Police were called and arrived within minutes, making the arrest while Vasser was walking away from the scene.

Damage to the vending machine was estimated at $800.

"He claimed he didn't know what was going on and that he didn't do anything wrong," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

A crack pipe was found in a pocket of a jacket Vasser was wearing. "He said the coat belonged to a friend," DeSpain said.

According to court records, Vasser was arrested and found guilty of similar break-ins in September 2003, twice in December 2003 and in May 2006.

Police said there have been more than two dozen vending machine break-ins in Madison since the start of 2012.

"At this time, Mr. Vasser has only been connected to Wednesday night's crime," DeSpain said.

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