Rash of Ore. laundry machine coin thefts



SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Thieves have targeted more than 100 coin-operated washers and dryers in apartment complexes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley since summer’s end, with about 70 of those thefts in the Salem area.

Salem police and the Coin Meter Co. are trying to solve the crime spree.

The Oregonian reports that no machine has been hit twice and each collection box is expertly drilled out.

Coin Meter service technician Shawn Brown estimates lost revenue combined with repair costs at $50 to $70 per machine. Salem Lt. Steve Birr estimates it between $70 and $85.

Thefts have been reported from Newberg to Eugene.

The Statesman Journal says a similar string of thefts occurred in Salem in late 2008 and early 2009. A man identified as a suspect in that case served prison time for burglary and is no longer in custody. However, Birr says the latest thefts don’t resemble the earlier pattern.