Crimetracker: Thieves steal more than Coke, take whole machine

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - We're tracking crime in northeast Knoxville, where an overwhelming sense of thirst may explain a missing soda machine.

Earlier this week, it was outside a business near Mercy Medical Center on Woodland Avenue. The next morning, it was gone.

"Oh man, that's one way to start the new year," said Clayton Martin, who leased the vending machine that was stolen.

"Just for Street" installs car accessories, and while people wait, they can stay cool with a Coke. Well, that was the idea until someone took the whole machine.

"There had been a struggle, with the scars on the sidewalk, and there was a little damage to my box, the outlet box here. Where the coke machine was pretty much drug to the edge, and just lifted up and taken away," said Martin.

He told police it was gone, and now he's scratching his head, wondering: who would do this?

"Must be pretty profitable. Otherwise, I don't see why anyone would take a Coke machine I had for refreshment of the neighborhood," said Martin.

The change is taken out every few days, so Martin says there wasn't much money inside. But maybe there's something about popping the top of the can, that tempted the crooks.

"Well Coke is a good product. I guess they're refreshed now," said Martin.

He is getting another vending machine, but he hasn't decided whether he's going to keep it outside again, or move it inside the walls.

Martin says this is the fourth machine stolen from the company he leases them from in just a matter of weeks.

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