WAYNESBURG – A man who allegedly broke into Bowlby Public Library in September and stole a large container being used to collect donations was arrested after he used a local store’s change machine to cash out the loot.
Benjamin Allen Gray, 23, of 392 N. West St., Waynesburg, was arrested Friday by Waynesburg police on charges of burglary, theft, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property and institutional vandalism.
Police said they were called to the library at 311 North West Street at 4:38 a.m. Sept. 16 for a motion detection alarm. A door on the side of the building had been damaged but no one was inside.
It was later determined a five-gallon water bottle on the circulation desk being used to collect donations to pay for a new gazebo was missing.
Library personnel indicated the bottle was a half to three-quarters filled with change and paper money. Police estimate the bottle contained $300 to $500.
Patrolman Rob Toth, the investigating officer, said he called local stores that have change machines and asked them to be on the lookout for someone cashing a large amount of change.
“I asked them that if someone came in, to let me know,” he said.
A few days later, Toth said, he received a call from an account associate at the Walmart store in Franklin Township indicating a large amount of change had been cashed at 5:54 a.m. on the day of burglary.
Video surveillance cameras had recorded the man using the change machine and presenting a receipt for $135.88. Toth said he was able to identify the man on the recording as Gray.
Police said Gray admitted to using a tire iron to break into the library and stealing the water bottle. He also told police he has a drug problem.
Gray was arraigned before District Judge Lou Dayich in Waynesburg and placed in the Greene County Jail on $15,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.