January 20, 2011

Kansas City Men Busted Breaking Into Local Vending Machines

A pair of Kansas City area men are in custody and local law enforcement officers are working to determine the depths of an apparent theft ring that possibly stretches well beyond Memphis.

Officers from the Memphis Police Department had local vending machines under surveillance Sunday afternoon as part of an investigation of thefts from various soda machines in the area that date as far back as October, 2010.

Surveillance had identified a possible suspect vehicle and established a potential time-line for the break-ins at a number of locations in town.

On Sunday evening, January 16th, Police Chief Bill Holland and a private citizen were watching the machine at the MFA gas station on the west edge of town when the suspect vehicle was spotted. The law enforcement element witnessed two suspects exit the vehicle at two different locations and allegedly gain illegal access to two different vending machines, allegedly stealing the monetary contents of both.

The officers stopped the vehicle before it was able to leave the gas station parking lot, and two suspects were taken into custody without incident.

Arrested were Oren Gene Gamble, Sr., age 54, of Lee's Summit and Vernon Neill Gibson, age 54, of Kansas City. Both men are facing class C felony stealing charges and are being held on $25,000 cash only bonds. Gibson is being held in the Scotland County Jail and Gamble is being held in the Clark County Detention Center.

Oren Gene Gamble, Sr.

Vernon Neill Gibson

Evidence collected in the investigation indicates the possibility that similar thefts have been occurring in other locals. Investigators are working with other law enforcement agencies to try to determine the extent of the crime spree.

Chief Holland indicated the arrests were made possible due to the diligent efforts of the vending machine owners as well as investigators from Knox County law enforcement and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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