Man also suspected in Corvallis case
ALBANY — Two Portland residents were arrested Wednesday night after trying to steal toy-vending machines from the Albany Fred Meyer store, according to police reports.
The male half of the duo also is suspected of stealing a vending machine from the Corvallis Kmart earlier that day, said Lt. Cord Wood of the Corvallis Police Department.
Police believe there might have been other similar thefts.
“It looks like what he would do is steal the machine, empty the money, and swap it out at another store,” Wood said.
“He was using a fake uniform,” Wood added. “If you saw this happening, you would think, ‘This is just a guy with the company switching out the machines.’”
Lance Harris, 43, and Natasha Lucero, 25, were arrested on charges of first-degree theft by Albany police. Harris also was arrested on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving while suspended.
Harris’ initial bail was set at $12,000, according to Linn County Jail logs.
Lucero, whose role in the alleged thefts was not clear from police reports, was released from jail without posting bail.
At about 5:41 p.m. Wednesday, police received a call that a man in a red Nissan pickup was trying to steal vending machines from the apparel side of Fred Meyer, said Detective Sgt. Steve Dorn of the Albany Police Department.
When police responded, Harris was in the process of taking toy-vending machines from the store.
Police found that the pickup was stolen out of Gresham and had plates stolen from a worker at Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, Dorn said.
At 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, a superball machine was stolen from the Kmart on Circle Boulevard in Corvallis. Wood said it was valued at $500, and he wasn’t sure about how much money it held.
In Benton County, Harris faces charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree theft and driving while suspended.