One suspect was carrying gumball machine
Taft Police arrested five men on burglary and conspiracy charges after an officer spotted one of the suspects walking down Kern Street carry an old fashioned gum ball vending machine.
The five suspects are accused of forcing entry into a closed business at 421 Center Street and removing numerous items.
The case started about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday when an officer on patrol spotted a man later identified as Wyatt Landreth, 18, walking in the area of Fifth and Lucard carrying the gum ball machine.
The officer stopped and questioned Landreth.
Lt. Pete Aranda said Landreth initially said he had purchased the antique item, but later told the officer he had obtained from others in the area of Fifth and Center.
Additional officers responded to the downtown and located the crime scene on Center Street where they found an open door in the rear basement that had been forced open.
Officers then located the other four suspects, Aranda said.
Landreth was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of stolen property.
Also arrested were:
•Bobby Michael Cook, 24, charged with commercial burglary, trespass and conspiracy.
•Dustin Allen Cook, 21,burglary, trespass and conspiracy.
•David Ray Prater Jr., 25, burglary, trespass and conspiracy.
•Curtis Anthony Price, 22, burglary, trespass and conspiracy.
Aranda said items stolen included the gum ball machine, knives, currency and other items.
The business was closed, Aranda said, and others hade entered the building before this break-in.