State College spree of 61 vending machine thefts nets $2,715

The loose change we plop down for a bag of chips or a candy bar has allegedly been a payday for an Altoona man.

State College police said Friday they have charged Kevin A. Holmes in a string of 61 thefts from vending machines since April 2012.

Police said he stole $2,715 by prying open machines at several area hotels and caused another $23,012 in damages.

Holmes faces similar charges in Blair County where Altoona Regional Health Systems police say he broke into at least four vending machines.

Police in State College began investigating in November 2012 when they were approached by a local vending company about numerous thefts dating back to April 2012.

Prompted by the repeated thefts, the company installed a camera in the Days Inn hotel on South Pugh Street.

A man later identified as Holmes is allegedly seen removing a hidden tool, prying open the vending machine door and reaching inside to pull out cash, police said in a criminal complaint.

State College police shared the imagines with area police, and were contacted by law enforcement officials in Blair County regarding Holmes’ arrest there. In January, while he was briefly incarcerated in Blair County, there were no thefts in State College area, police said.

After his release from Blair County jail, a surveillance camera at the Ramada Inn in State College allegedly caught Holmes breaking into vending machine on Jan. 31.

In February, police conducted surveillance at Holmes’ residence and said they observed him wearing some of the same clothing he wore during the thefts, officers alleged in the criminal complaint.

Holmes faces felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief and five misdemeanor counts of possessing an instrument of crime stemming from the State College incidents. He faces other felony charges in Blair County, according to court documents.

He remains in the Centre County Correctional Facility after failing to post $50,000 bail.