Local schools lost money when machines were broken into

Police have arrested three more suspects in what they are calling a theft ring targeting high school pop machines.

The original 'Coke Bandit' - Shelton E. Reese, 37, of Portland - was arrested on June 2, after he allegedly broke into machines at Parkrose High School in Northeast Portland, said Officer Grant McCormick, a Gresham Police Department spokesman. It was just the latest in a five-year spree of pop machine break-ins at local high schools, particularly at Barlow and Centennial.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Oregon owns the machines and has lost more than $70,000. Local schools also have lost an estimated $13,000 because a percentage of school pop machine proceeds support athletic programs.

After police arrested Reese, they searched a Portland house where he often slept on the couch. Inside, investigators found chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, as well as evidence that linked him to the Parkrose High School vending machine break-in and others in East Multnomah County.

As part of the continuing investigation, detectives arrested three more suspects, all Portland men.

Michael J. Kelso, 40, was arrested at a house in the 6000 block of Northeast 80th Avenue in Portland at 5 p.m. Friday, June 9, on three counts of second-degree burglary, three counts of identity theft and one count of second-degree theft. The next day he was released from the Justice Center Jail due to overcrowding.

On Tuesday, June 13, detectives arrested Eric S. Medrano, 37, of Portland in Clackamas County on burglary and theft warrants stemming from the pop machine break-ins.

He is also being held on $43,500 bail at the Justice Center Jail on multiple warrants dating back to 2004 on charges of attempting to elude police by vehicle, providing false information to police, driving with a suspended license, failure to appear on a citation, possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon.

Also on Thursday, June 13, detectives arrested Daniel A. Eggleton, 23, at his mother's house in Southeast Portland on two counts of second-degree burglary. He was released on his own recognizance from the Justice Center Jail on Wednesday, June 14.

Reese is still being held on $56,000 bail at the Inverness Jail on eight counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree theft, one count of third-degree theft and one count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

McCormick said all four suspects know each other and have been captured on video surveillance.

The case is still under investigation and even more arrests are likely. Anyone with information about the break-ins is encouraged to call the Gresham police tip line at 503-618-2719 or 1-888-989-3505.

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