POINT PLEASANT — Two people are in custody and a third suspect is at large in the Tuesday morning theft of an ATM machine at Paul’s Exxon just outside Point Pleasant.
The incident happened around 2:24 a.m. on Tuesday and by shortly after 9:30 a.m., officers with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department were preparing to question two of the three suspects in the case.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the two people arrested in the incident were Kelsey Smith, 19 and Mason Smith, 20, both are siblings and are from Leon. Brother and sister were charged with breaking and entering and grand larceny. They were arraigned in Mason County Magistrate Court, both having their bonds set at $100,000 each. Again, a third suspect is at large though deputies were actively pursuing leads at press time.
According to Sheriff Greg Powers and personnel at the sheriff’s department, surveillance video taken at the Exxon store shows a 1991 Dodge sedan circling the parking lot and then ramming the front doors, shattering the glass. The video shows two suspects entering the store, dragging and literally pushing out the heavy ATM machine. A third person can be seen in the car and then standing outside the vehicle as the ATM is shoved out the door.
After law enforcement arrived on the scene, those associated with the store began posting video of the incident on social media sites, asking for information. Through these postings, a local mechanic recognized the Dodge, telling the sheriff’s department he thought he’d recently put an inspection sticker on the vehicle. Using the records at the garage, a license plate was identified and that vehicle was allegedly owned by Kelsey Smith.
From there, law enforcement went to Kelsey’s address on Dunham Road in the Leon area where she and Mason were questioned and later arrested.
As for the ATM, after the interviews, law enforcement obtained information that it was abandoned on Brighton Road. Prior to officers getting to the machine, residents in the area had seen the videos on social media of the breaking and entering and recalled hearing loud “banging” noises near the area earlier in the day and figured they were connected – sure enough, they were. Residents found the machine and reported it to officers who were already on their way to the location.
Officers say a significant amount of money was gone from the ATM but not all of it.
Personnel with the sheriff’s department believe the crime to be drug-related in nature. This investigation is ongoing.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites