TRAVERSE CITY — It was a bad night at a couple of car washes near Cherry Capital Airport about a month ago.
Both businesses sustained thousands of dollars worth of damage after someone pried apart coin machines and other equipment.
Police subsequently arrested Anthony William Paladino, 31, on Dec. 30 and accused him of the crimes. Paladino is charged with two counts each of malicious destruction of property and breaking and entering, and faces up to five years in jail.
The thief wasn’t able to steal away with cash from either scene because once coins go into the machine, they travel through a pipe into a box inside the building.
“But still he did a substantial amount of damage in his attempt to remove the coins,” said Daniel Kaupas, the manager at Express Auto Wash, who noticed the damage the morning after the incident. “I stood there and looked at machine for a minute before registering somebody really did this.”
Security cameras at Express Auto Wash at 921 W South Airport Road and Super Wash Car Wash at 709 Parsons Road caught a white male in a red pickup truck pulling into the businesses. The Super Wash camera showed the man swinging a tool at the machine, according to police reports. The man also pulled the face plate off one of the machines.
“It was an open, stainless steel box with 30 or 40 wires randomly hanging and torn out of it,” Kaupas said.
Police pulled over Paladino, of Kalkaska, because his truck was similar to the one on tape, according to police reports.
A faceplate from a damaged machine was visible in the bed of his truck, according to police reports. Later, police reported finding a ballpeen hammer and a pry bar inside the truck.
Paladino has a preliminary exam scheduled for Feb. 6.