Alleged newspaper vending machine thief arrested

Published 10:41 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2015

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal 

A man responsible for allegedly stealing multiple newspaper vending machines over the last few months was arrested in mid-January.



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The Selma Police Department arrested 52-year-old Roger Wayne Cope on Jan. 15, according to a press release from Lt. Curtis Muhannad.

“He was spotted at the intersection of Summerfield Road and Minter Avenue by officers,” Muhannad said. “

They made contact and made an arrest on him based on a warrant that had been issued previously by an employee [at The Selma Times-Journal].”

Cope was charged with one count of third-degree theft of property, which is a misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing two racks on Dec. 21 from the 1600 block of Broad Street and the 1300 block of Highland Avenue.

Cope has been spotted in footage from surveillance cameras stealing newspaper vending machines from various businesses in Selma, according to Tasha Tice, audience development manager at The Selma Times-Journal.

Machines had been stolen from the Steak Pit, Lannie’s BBQ, Winn Dixie, Calhoun Foods and several other businesses.

Tice said Cope wasn’t just stealing the racks, but he was also damaging them.

“It’s costing us money because he’s taking the rack [and] destroying the rack to take the money out,” Tice said. “Then we have to replace the rack with a new one.”

Each machine that was stolen had to be replaced at a cost of $220 plus shipping, according to Tice. The thefts also caused a loss of newspaper sales.

Cope will appear before a judge in Selma Municipal Court March 5 and could face up to a year in county jail and up to $6,000 in fines if convicted.