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May 26, 2022

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Man arrested for stealing $5K in coins from CoinStar machine at Brush Prairie WinCo

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Las Vegas man Wednesday accused of dressing up as a CoinStar employee and stealing more than $5,000 in coins from the machine at the Brush Prairie WinCo.

Richard Pena, 32, was booked in the Clark County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft and criminal impersonation. He appeared in Clark County Superior Court on the allegations Thursday, and his bail was set at $15,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6.

Deputies responded around 5 p.m. to the supermarket at 11310 N.E. 119th St. A loss-prevention employee at the store told deputies a man used a key to open the CoinStar machine and loaded the cash box onto a dolly before taking it outside to a white van. An employee contacted CoinStar and learned Pena made off with $5,200, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A deputy stopped Pena’s white van nearby and found he had a warrant for his arrest, court records state. When the deputy tried to arrest Pena, he ran. The deputy chased him and deployed his Taser in order to arrest him, the affidavit states. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment before he was booked into the jail.

Another deputy said Pena can be seen on store surveillance video wearing a button-up CoinStar shirt as he opened the machine, according to court records. The loss-prevention employee said they were suspicious of Pena because a security company usually comes to collect from the machine, not a CoinStar employee.

Customers use the CoinStar machine to deposit large quantities of coins and redeem them for currency or gift cards.

Pena allegedly told a detective that he’d stolen the coins “because I needed the money, because of COVID, and I don’t have a job.” The affidavit states Pena said he’d gotten the key to the machine from a friend.

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