LYNNWOOD — A man accused of ripping off about $450,000 from grocery store coin-counting machines in three states has been charged with five counts of theft.
Prosecutors allege that Michael Burns, 40, wore his Coinstair Inc. uniform when he walked into stores and used inside knowledge as an employee to break into the kiosks, court records show.
The machines convert loose change into cash. People dump bags of coins into the machines and — in exchange for a percentage fee — get a receipt back good for cash or services.
Burns allegedly used the money to buy thousands of dollars worth of diamonds for his girlfriend, a brand-new Harley Davidson and high-end electronics. Prosecutors also believe the Maple Valley man used about $80,000 stolen from the kiosks to put a down payment on a house.
Police were alerted after loss prevention officers at Bellevue-based Coinstar discovered thefts at several of their kiosks.
Burns is being held in the Snohomish County Jail on $250,000 bail.
@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Sound Transit bus accident snarls I-5
Traffic was slowed on southbound I-5 on Wednesday morning as police investigated an injury collision involving a Sound Transit bus.
The accident occurred about 10 a.m. in the Lynnwood area, Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said.
A car hit the bus, spun out, hit two more cars and then flipped over into a ditch, he said.
The bus driver was taken to the hospital with knee injuries. None of the 22 passengers on the bus were seriously hurt, Leary said. The person whose car flipped suffered minor head injuries.
Another bus arrived to take the passengers on their way.
Some lanes of the freeway were blocked as officials cleaned up the mess and investigated.
Arlington: Police arrest 3 after shooting
Police are investigating a shooting near Arlington early Wednesday that resulted in three arrests and no injuries.
A man told sheriff’s deputies he went outside his home about 3:30 a.m. in the 11200 block of 99th Avenue NE after a light sensor in the driveway indicated someone might be there, said Rebecca Hover, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman.
The man said he saw a vehicle in the driveway and someone fired shots at him, she said. The man wasn’t injured.
Granite Falls police spotted the vehicle and arrested three men, all in their 20s and from Marysville.
Deputies do not know what the men’s motive was in opening fire. They do not believe the shooting was gang-related, Hover said.
The men who were arrested were booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault.
Lake Stevens: Police seek exposure suspect
Police said they are looking for a man who exposed himself at a drive-up espresso stand in Lake Stevens more than a month ago.
The man allegedly drove up to the stand about 6:30 p.m. April 28 and touched himself sexually in front of the barista, said Rebecca Hover, a Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Hover said the espresso stand, in the 1900 block of N. Machias Road, is not one of the controversial stands where baristas wear bikinis or are otherwise scantily clad.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 20s to mid-30s, 5 feet, 9 inches tall with a slight build and a pale complexion. He has short brown hair and dark eyes.
He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans. He had cuts on his hands, which were dirty, as if he’d just finished working at a construction job.
He was driving a light blue midsize Chevy pickup with Washington plates.
The sheriff’s office released a sketch of the suspect Wednesday.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Snohomish County sheriff’s tip line at 425-388-3845.
Edmonds: Abandoned house fire suspicious
Police and fire officials are investigating a suspicious fire in an abandoned home Wednesday.
Someone apparently tried to start a fire in several locations inside the home in the 7200 block of 212th Street SW, Edmonds Fire Battalion Chief Doug Dahl said.
Edmonds police said that the location is frequently broken into by juveniles.
Crews were called at 11:10 a.m. to the house and firefighters quickly contained the blaze to the outside of the home, Dahl said.
No one was injured.
Investigators said the dollar loss is negligible since the home was slated to be torn down.
Seattle: Pilot released from hospital
The Snohomish man who was injured in an airplane crash Monday was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The 67-year-old pilot was hurt when his experimental plane landed upside-down in a grassy field near Arlington. The crash shut down Highway 530 for about an hour while the pilot was transported to the hospital.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to investigate the crash.
Everett: Man injured in car crash improving
The man injured in a hot-rod crash in Everett on Friday is improving, hospital officials said Wednesday.
The man was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after his 1923 Ford T-Bucket crashed head-on into a minivan in the intersection of Rucker Avenue and 42nd Street, police said.
On Wednesday, he was listed in serious condition in intensive care, said Susan Gregg-Hanson, a Harborview spokeswoman. On Monday, he had been listed in critical condition.
Witness told police the man may have been speeding just before the crash, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.
The investigation into the accident continues.
From Herald staff reports