Jackpotting: High-tech crime hits Danville car wash

Man charged with using electronic device to steal quarters from vending machine

DANVILLE, Va. – A high-tech heist in Danville.

On Feb. 3, quarters were stolen from the vending machine at the Laser Wash car wash on South Main Street.

The next day, owner Shane Brackin came to collect the coins and found far fewer than he says there should've been.

Surveillance cameras show a man using an electronic device to force the vending machine to spit out quarters.

"We've heard about something similar to this in the past. It's what they call 'jackpotting.' So we knew what to look for but we didn't know what kind of device to look for," Brackin said.

Brackin notified Danville Police.

"We had real good footage of his vehicle, his license plate. We had good footage of his face. The Danville Police Department, they jumped (on the case) pretty quick," Brackin said.

On Feb. 6, he says, surveillance video shows the man hitting the car wash again.

Brackin is now upgrading the vending machine software at all of his car washes, hoping to prevent anymore jackpotting.

Danville Police Department Lt. Richard Chivvis says the suspect, Durham, North Carolina, resident Charles Young, stole roughly 4,000 quarters, totaling nearly $1,000.

That's a haul weighing nearly 50 pounds.

"The officers did an outstanding job. As part of the investigation, when they observed him back in the same area, the officers stopped him, furthered their investigation and were able to recover a lot, if not all, of the stolen quarters," Chivvis said.

The electronic device, which Chivvis said Young learned to make on the internet, was also recovered.

Investigators believe Young hit more than a dozen area vending machines, but as of Tuesday the car wash was the only business in Danville he was believed to have hit.

"The device was something that was temporary. The suspect used it while he was there and then left with the device," Chivvis said.

The police department is asking business owners to check their vending machines and report any suspicious activity.

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