Austrian police have arrested a man who they say made a living by breaking into coin counting machines in bank halls. Total damage is estimated at over $22,000.
Investigators said the 36-year-old unemployed Austrian likely started looting the machines in October 2021.
They are currently looking at similar incidents in the states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna to determine if the same suspect was behind them.
Officials said it took just a minute for the alleged perpetrator, who had clearly perfected his craft, to steal the parts from the machines with a tool.
A specialized crime unit tried to find a car following a raid on the lobby of a bank branch in Linz.
The vehicle was eventually located in the Donaustadt district of the Austrian capital of Vienna, more than two hours away.
Linz state prosecutors identified the suspect and ordered a search of his home on February 8, although he was not named.
Officers seized several bags and containers filled with coins from his residence, including loot from his latest raid.
They also confiscated clothes and tools, including a small crowbar and two screwdrivers, from his car.
The suspect was arrested at the scene and taken to Linz prison. He confessed to police and said he funded his life with the burglaries.
Investigators said they are certain the same suspect was behind at least 10 other such cases in Linz and Vienna between October 23, 2021 and February 7, 2022.
Lower Austria police added: “The damage amounts to approximately 20,000 euros ($22,000), with material damage being minor.”
The National Criminal Police Office of Lower Austria continues to carry out thorough investigations into possible similar burglaries.
In late December 2021, Clark County, Washington Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Las Vegas man accused of disguising himself as a CoinStar employee and stealing more than $5,000 in parts from the Brush Prairie machine. WinCo in Vancouver, Washington, according to The Chronicle.
The suspect, Richard Pena, was convicted of first degree theft and criminal impersonation. A store worker told deputies a man used a key to open the CoinStar machine, then loaded the cash box onto a trolley before transporting it to a white van.
Pena told the arresting officers that he had no job and needed money. He can be seen on the store’s surveillance video as he opened the machine, according to court records.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.