By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT
EAST LIVERPOOL - With assistance from an off-duty police officer and two private citizens, city police were able to recover from the Ohio River Friday a change machine reported stolen from an East End laundromat.
Morning Journal/Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert
A change machine stolen from a laundromat in East Liverpool is hefted from the Ohio River by Pat King, owner of First Class Towing, who dove underneath the water to locate the machine. Pulling the machine onto the shore are (clockwise from left) off-duty St. Clair Township police officer Ron Wolf, city Detective Don Fickes and citizen Chad Hanlon.
The manager of the East End Wash and Dry had reported Monday that a man and woman entered the facility about 4:20 p.m. and stole the change machine containing between 700 and 800 quarters.
Surveillance video showed the two people entering the laundromat, with the woman apparently serving as a lookout and telling the man it was clear, prompting him to unplug the machine and pull it from the wall. The entire incident only took a few minutes.
Patrolman John Headley recognized the woman in the video, "which got everything going," according to Detective Don Fickes.
Through further investigation, it was learned the emptied coin machine was dumped in the river off River Road near a retaining wall.
On Friday afternoon, off-duty St. Clair Township police officer Ron Wolf brought an underwater camera to the location and citizen Chad Hanlon held the camera on a pole out into the water, sweeping it slowly back and forth as Wolf watched through the viewer.
The shape of the change box was visible with the camera, and Pat King, owner of First Class Towing, offered to go into the water to try and retrieve it.
After searching the length of the wall with a stick, King was able to pinpoint the exact location of the change box and dove under the water, pulling it up as the other men and Fickes helped.
It was carried over the steep hillside to a waiting truck and taken back to the city police department as evidence.
Fickes commended Hanlon, Wolf and King for their efforts in retrieving the stolen item, saying, "That was $2,000 worth of equipment destroyed to get a small amount of change."
The two suspects were not named Friday, pending filing of charges.