Duncan man accused of stealing newspaper machines

Duncan_A 33 year old Duncan man is behind bars after stealing newspaper boxes right outside of businesses.  Duncan Police say they arrested Michael Wayne Huff Wednesday afternoon.  Early that morning, he had taken a newspaper rack outside of the Daybreak Diner.  Huff then headed north on Highway 81.  And, this time, police had a tip.

A convenience store's surveillance video showed the getaway car leaving the scene of the crime.  Duncan police have had criminals steal newspaper machines in the past - but nothing like this.  Police and Sheriff's Deputies found 14 newspaper boxes along with a fragrance machine that they believe was stolen from a local car wash.

Three key elements helped authorities solve this case in less than 24 hours.  The convenience store had surveillance video of the incident, Duncan Police have a program that helps them track people down even if they don't have the entire license plate number and good old fashioned team work with Stephens County Deputies is what got the job done.

Duncan Police and Stephen's County Deputies were able to track the getaway car used to steal the bulky newspaper racks.  "You know normally criminals are looking for an easy way to acquire money.  You know this required quite a bit of work.  Because you know these things are big and heavy," said Captain Jay Evans.  He says they found 3 Lawton paper machines, 11 Daily Oklahoman Machines and 1 Duncan paper machine.

These machines aren't light - most of them weigh over eighty pounds.  "He went to some length; on especially the fragrance machine that was taken is quite large and on the pole," says Evans.  "It's a hard way to get money because the machines, the boxes on them are really thick metal so he had quick an display of tool to try and sledge hammer his way into them," he says.

A few newspaper racks are still on Main Street and business owner Arlene Aoki says she thinks this crime is totally ignorant.  "What are you going to do with 15 machines?  They don't even make a good book case or anything.  That makes no sense, I'm sorry," she says.

Miranda Broom works at another convenience store and says she's never heard of this before - that it sounds pretty desperate.  "I think it's really childish and it's not a good idea because you're not going to get much money out of it," she says.  "[It] makes my jaw drop.  I had a lot more intelligent things to do at the age of 33 then go out and steal a newspaper machine to get the money out of it," says Aoki.

Captain Evans says this crime is just not worth it.  If a person is caught stealing one of these machines, they'll be facing some serious jail time - and not much money for their trouble.  7News contacted some newspapers who said they empty out the machines twice a week - and most days, it's only 50 cents a paper.