A Payson man’s gamble that he wouldn’t get caught cashing in a coffee can full of stolen quarters at the Mazatzal Casino didn’t pay off.
Police arrested Paul Vincent Leneberg, 31, on drug-related charges with theft charges pending through the county attorney’s office.
Leneberg told police he got the stolen quarters from a “guy” who took them from the Payson Roundup.
The thief broke into the newspaper offices last Monday night or early Tuesday morning and pried open a small green safe that held a coffee can full of quarters collected from the Roundup’s newspaper racks. A handful of cameras were also taken.
Around 4:30 a.m., Tuesday, Leneberg strolled into the casino, coffee can in hand, and traded in the quarters for cash.
After the Roundup reported the theft, police called the casino to see if anyone had brought in a large amount of change in a coffee can. Luckily, employees remembered Leneberg and showed Officer Jared Meredith surveillance tape of Leneberg with the change.
Turns out, narcotic detectives were already investigating Leneberg for narcotic use.
A subsequent search of Leneberg’s home Wednesday night turned up drugs and drug paraphernalia along with a number of stolen properties from multiple burglaries, said PPD Det. Matt Van Camp.
Officers found cameras stolen from the Roundup as well as jewelry from the Garden of Eden in the home. Thieves broke into the Garden of Eden last Tuesday night.
Officers arrested Leneberg’s girlfriend during the search Wednesday night on drug-related charges.
Leneberg told police he traded drugs for the stolen merchandise and did not admit to the thefts.
Police recovered 95 percent of the stolen merchandise, Van Camp said.
This is isn’t the first time police have cracked a case in only a few days.
On Feb. 17, taggers hit a dozen businesses along Highway 87, including the Roundup.
Later that day, police arrested two Payson 18-year-olds for the vandalism.