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Keys Key To Vending Machine Case

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Detective Joseph Hall examines keys and some loot

Keys Key To Vending Machine Case

An Ypsilanti janitor who taking a locksmith course by mail was arrested over the weekend by sheriff’s detectives who say he stole $3,600 in coins by using some of the 1,000 keys he owns.

Reginal Street, 31, of 414 Adams St., Ypsilanti, was apprehended by Sheriff’s Detective Joseph Hall and Uniformed Deputy George Rider.

The officers said Street stole from the W. T. Grant Store in Gault Village Shopping Center, just south of the I-94 expressway in Ypsilanti Township, where he worked as a part-time janitor. The suspect’s full-time job is as a janitor at the Michigan State Police post in Ypsilanti.

Detective Hall and Deputy Rider said they launched the investigation which led to Street’s arrest last Friday after officials of the Grant store filed a complaint about money missing from vending machines in the

The sheriff’s men “dusted” several vending and coins which were placed in them with special dust Friday. On Saturday morning store officials found two machines missing about $35 in coins.

Street voluntarily submitted to an examination of his hands and clothing under an ultra violet light which Hall and Rider said showed the powder which had been placed on the coins and machines.

The janitor then led the officers to a mop bucket where the keys to the vending machines had been dropped. A total of $57, which Street said he had taken from the machines, was found in a coin purse in Street’s coat, detectives said.

Street told Hall and Rider he was taking a correspondence course in locksmithing and as a result of the course had obtained a collection of more than 1,000 keys and key blanks. He said he made keys to fit the various machines in the Grant store with key-making machines in the store, officers said.

Street “cleaned out” the nine machines in the Grant store once a week and realized about $50 a week from the thefts, Hall said. He carried the change from the store in purses and also took various amounts of clothing, jewelry and other merchandise, Hall added.

The sheriff’s men recovered $900 worth of clothing taken from the store from Street’s home in addition to the collection of 1,000 keys.

Although Street had been looting the machines for the past 18 months, store authorities had not contacted law officials, detectives said. Officers said they are attempting to recover some merchandise which Street admits stealing and which he pawned in Detroit.