MOTT HAVEN -- A man who police say clearly has an obsession with candy was busted and accused of stealing, over time, some 100 gumball machines throughout the Bronx.
The machines were in stores and Laundromats.
He would apparently hauling them out, at 75 pounds each, and hoist them onto a pick-up truck.
Police are calling him the gumball bandit.
He poses as a repairman and he's been swiping candy machines throughout the Bronx for months, maybe longer.
Cut Zone Barber Shop on Melrose Avenue was robbed earlier this month.
The suspect marched up to the door, told the barbers he was going to fix the candy machines, and then walked right out with them with a buddy behind.
"They wear a uniform, act like they come from a company," said Louie Cordero, a store owner.
Louie Cordero doesn't understand why the suspect would bother stealing these machines; at best they have $60 in change and they're worth about $300.
"He's hit small mom and pop stores. We're upset, with that money we pay the gas, the light," Cordero said.
Well the sweet tooth culprit was caught after several store owners turned in their surveillance videos to police.
One showed him struggling with a partner to get the machine out of a pizza shop, and in another heaving two machines out of a check cashing store.
Thursday night, police had Jason Bietsch in custody at the 40th precinct, so far linking the Scarsdale man to three robberies.
But now, investigators are wondering if he's responsible for more than 100 stolen machines.
"It's amazing; this guy lives in a nice neighborhood. It's just petty cash," Cordero said.
Police arrest so-called 'Gumball Bandit' in New York
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