Posted: Jan 29, 2013 8:48 PM by Bart Bedsole - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Jan 30, 2013 10:21 AM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Despite a burglary to his soda machine for the seventh time in five months, Michael Lucente was ecstatic.
The owner of Mike's Mobile Auto Service on Saratoga had smile on his face Tuesday because he finally succeeded in getting a good luck at the guy behind all the break-ins.
The first time it happened, Lucente thought it was a fluke.
"I figured it would be a one time deal," he said, "and I wasn't really worried about it, but after like the third time, we started getting upset, and we did something about it."
Lucente installed a camera, and the video of a previous break-in wasn't bad, but it was tough to get a good look at the guy's face, because the camera was mounted a bit too high on his building.
"He was wearing a hood most of the time, covering his head," Lucente explains, "so we weren't able to get a great shot of his face."
He later installed a second camera, this time inside the machine.
The crook apparently never saw it, because Monday night he went through his normal routine, which includes prying open the lock with a screwdriver before grabbing an assortment of cash and soda from inside the machine.
But during the seventh break-in, a picture perfect image of the man's face was captured by the soda machine camera.
"It was, it was nice to be able to get a good video shot of somebody sometime," said Lucente.
"Just because you have cameras doesn't mean you're going to get a good shot, as many people know. And to get a good shot of somebody doing wrong is nice."
He also called police, who got at least one good fingerprint from inside the machine.
Lucente estimates the series of 8-minute burglaries have cost him about a thousand dollars in damaged locks, loose change, and drinks.
But he hopes his newfound video will lead to an arrest and conviction.
To help with that, he's also offering a $400 reward to anyone who recognizes the man in the video and calls police.
CCPD's Crimestoppers hotline is 888-TIPS.
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