DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Three men, two of whom have criminal histories, were arrested for breaking into parking meters in Ferndale and filling their pockets.

Police in Ferndale said the meters have been hit at least four times so far this year — and other local communities have been experiencing the same problem.

But they weren’t smash and grabs: The thefts seemed to be committed by people who somehow had keys to open the meters, police said.

One of the suspects, 28-year-old Terry Dale Craig, was caught at 5 a.m. Sunday when a patrolman noticed him walking a dog in the area of 9 Mile and Woodward. Police said Craig met another person, Douglas Charles Hastings, 63,  and they “had traits similar to suspects in various thefts of money from parking meters.”

Upon further investigation, the cop determined there was reason to believe these two men were stealing money from parking meters. A check on one of the men, Hastings, showed he had two felony warrants for breaking into coin machines in Petoskey and Traverse City.

Officers then found a third man acting as if he were sleeping in a Ford Expedition parked in a nearby parking lot. Investigation led the officers to believe that this person,  James Richard O’Neil, 48,  who has a criminal history dating back to 1983, was also a participant in the morning thefts and he was arrested.

“The investigation continues and information will be shared with other departments across the state to determine if these suspects are involved in a number of similar crimes,” Ferndale police said in a press release.

All of the suspects, who hail from Jackson, Mich., were charged with three-year felonies of breaking and entering a coin-operated device, and ordered held on bond. Craig has a $10,000 cash/surety bond, and O’Neil, $25,000. Hastings was turned over to Traverse City on outstanding warrants.


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