Vending machine business owner speaks out about recent robberies

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Time is money to John Jenkins. Lately, he's been losing both from his vending machines. The Bulloch co. businessman is at his wit's end. On Oct. 24, he repaired the latest of his vending machines robbed inside schools from three counties.

Recently, someone snuck in Portal Elementary and Portal Middle/High School, pulled open his snack machines and took every last dime from each.

Jenkins and investigators think it's the same person who has hit more than 20 times.

"I don't know how he keeps from getting caught. He's lucky is what I think. He either finds a door open or he pries one open with this crow bar," said Jenkins.

Once the suspect gets inside, he finds the vending machine, quickly opens it, and gets the money.

"He can break into a snack machine in seconds, compared to some people where it'd take them an hour to break into it," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says it first happened in the spring of 2010, then for a few weeks in Aug. 2010. It began again this school year and has not stopped.

Jenkins has suffered losses at Claxton High, Effingham County High, and nearly every school in Bulloch County.

"I'm a small business. It's very hard for small businesses to stay in business and make any profit. Every time he steals $30 to $40, it hurts. If he breaks in and steals $50, it's going to cost me $250 to $300 by the time I repair the equipment," said Jenkins.

With these machines now fixed, Jenkins can only hold his breath and hope investigators get to the bandit before he hits more schools.

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