Wakulla County, Florida- September 5, 2012
A Chattanooga, Tenn. man captured after breaking into two automated ice machines in Wakulla County will be facing charges in approximately 10 jurisdictions in four southern states after breaking into 59 ice machines around the region, according to Wakulla County Sheriff Donnie Crum.
Fast action by Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the WCSO Dispatch unit on Tuesday, Sept. 4 resulted in the arrest of 47-year-old John Thomas Steiner, Jr. in the Crawfordville area.
Steiner, Jr. was charged with criminal mischief, burglary, possession of burglary tools and grand theft in the cases.
WCSO was alerted to the 2:27 a.m. burglary at an automated ice machine at a bait and tackle shop on Woodville Highway. Security footage was collected from the scene and nine minutes later at 2:36 a.m. a second alarm was received at a second automated ice machine at a hardware store on Crawfordville Highway.
Sgt. Jeremy Johnston observed the suspect vehicle in the Crawfordville area and conducted a traffic stop. Sgt. Johnston observed an electric saw and spare battery inside the vehicle. The suspect admitted that he was on his way to a third automated ice machine in Panacea when he was stopped.
Sgt. Johnston spoke to Deputy Randy Phillips and confirmed that the suspect used the same type saw equipment he observed in the vehicle at the first crime scene on Woodville Highway. The vehicle was seized and taken to the WCSO Impound yard and a large quantity of coins and cash was recovered inside the vehicle.
The money was handed over to the Evidence Division for storage.
Property damage was estimated at $60 on Woodville Highway.
Deputy Mike Crum investigated the Crawfordville ice machine theft.
Steiner remains in the Wakulla County Jail under a $13,100 bond.
The jurisdictions in Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Georgia included: Tallahassee, Wakulla County, Bay County, Washington County, Decatur, Ala., Collegedale, Tenn., Monticello, Ga. Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., Chipley, Fla. and additional charges from other jurisdictions are possible.