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Cops on caffeine-fueled crime caper in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Mounties are grinding away at a case involving multiple thefts of coffee machines from local Starbucks outlets.

Police caught the aroma of something awry Friday when a total of six Verismo Coffee machines were stolen from three different Starbucks locations.

Two machines were pilfered from the Terminal Park Starbucks at about 7:30 p.m. when a Caucasian male walked into the outlet, picked up the machines, carried them to his car and drove off.

In less time than it takes to brew two pots of dark roast – about 10 minutes – Starbucks at University Village lost two Verismo machines from its inventory.

Staff saw a white male, employing a similar blend of brashness and guile, walk in, grab the machines and leave.

Police were unable track down the suspect – described as Caucasian, in his mid 20s, 5'11" tall, 170 lbs. and wearing a black jacket with white lettering on the left sleeve, white ball cap and jeans – who was last seen walking west on Fifth Street.

The County Club Starbucks lost two machines as well and was likely the first of the three outlets targeted that day. Police estimate that theft happened between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., but said there were no witnesses to the theft.

The machines retail for about $200 each and investigators are filtering through security video from each location for clues.

"They're relatively high-end items and it's too early to say what the motive would be," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. "We working with the stores to ensure these kinds of thefts don't repeat and Starbucks has been extremely receptive to our suggestions."

Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

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