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Man charged with stealing from laundry machines
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Man charged with stealing from laundry machines

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Man charged with stealing from apartment laundry machines

Matthew W. Smith

A man faces charges this week in Madison County after allegedly stealing money from a laundry facility at an apartment complex in Fredericktown, causing more than $1,000 in damages in the process.

Matthew W. Smith, 39, address unknown but previously of Potosi, was charged on Wednesday with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage. He entered a plea of not guilty to the charges at an arraignment hearing held on Thursday.

According to a probable cause statement, on Tuesday, an officer was dispatched to the Creek Side Apartments on Jennifer Street in reference to theft and property damage involving some of the coin boxes on the laundry machines inside the apartment complex's laundry facility.

The officer arrived at the location and saw several of the locks on the coin boxes had been damaged. The officer reported one of the coin machines appeared to have been torn apart.

The officer began reviewing surveillance video from inside the laundry facility, which reportedly showed Smith and a woman enter the area at 4:05 p.m. Monday.

The report states the woman walked outside while Smith pulled the change trays out of some of the machines, stealing the change from them before leaving.

Upon further review of the footage, the officer saw two men enter the laundry area just before 5 a.m. on Tuesday with masks over their faces. The officer reports one of the men appeared to be Smith, but he could not identify the other man.

Once inside, the report states, the men began trying to break into several machines, causing about $1,100 worth of damage to the devices.

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The officer left the apartments to find Smith.

At about 7 p.m., the officer received a phone call advising him that Smith was at Chuck's Short Stop. Another officer arrested Smith and placed him on a 24-hour hold so he could be interviewed regarding the case.

On Wednesday, police interviewed Smith, asking him about the reported theft and another burglary he was suspected of committing.

The report states Smith was read his Miranda Rights before admitting to entering the property to steal change from the machines on Monday. He reportedly admitted he had no other reason to be at the laundry facility.

Smith also reportedly admitted to returning on Tuesday with an accomplice in an attempt to get change out of the other machines; however, he denied causing the damages and stated his accomplice was the one that did all of the property damage. Court records indicate the reported accomplice has yet to be charged.

After the interview, Smith was transported back to the Madison County Jail. Formal charges against Smith were filed Wednesday, and a $20,000 cash-only bond was set in the case.

Court records show Smith has pleaded guilty to burglary before in Madison County.

After pleading guilty to second-degree burglary in 2015, Smith was placed on five years of supervised probation. He violated the terms of his probation in 2016 and was sentenced to serve 120 days of shock incarceration.

In 2018, he pleaded guilty to resisting/interfering with an arrest or stop and was ordered to serve 120 days in the Madison County Jail, receiving credit for time served.

The man also has two pending criminal cases in Madison County in which he is charged with possession of controlled substances, according to court records.

Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at bradford@dailyjournalonline.com

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