Tacoma man charged in alleged thefts at transit stations

MUKILTEO — He allegedly went pilfering from rail station to rail station before a journey to jail.

A Tacoma man, 32, is accused of breaking into ticket vending machines at Sound Transit stations in three counties. The Mukilteo Sounder train station was hit shortly before 3:40 a.m. May 23.

Police believe he might have been stealing to support a drug habit. He’s charged with first-degree theft. His criminal history includes a drug conviction in California as well as misdemeanors in King County for theft and car prowling.

In Mukilteo, someone used a bottle-shaped hydraulic jack to force open the front door of the vending machine. They also used a pry bar to yank out a bill vault, and bolt cutters to sever the cable connecting the bill-accepting equipment from the vault.

It caused a lot of damage for a haul of roughly $350 in cash.

The equipment taken was worth about $10,000. The estimated damage to the vending machine was believed to be more than $15,000.

Sound Transit had video of the theft. It reportedly shows the suspect carrying a black tool bag along with the jack, bolt cutters and pry bar. About two hours later, a jogger found a tool bag and tools dumped near a train. Fingerprints left on the electrical tape wrapped around the jack handle were matched to the suspect, according to court records.

The Tacoma man also was arrested by Sumner police for committing a similar heist at a Sounder stop in that community. He allegedly admitted involvement in another break-in at a station in King County.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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