LINCOLN CITY — Chris Donner, owner of the Game Over Arcade, first noticed something off Saturday morning when he found the lock on one of his arcade machines wouldn’t open. Over the next few days, he realized roughly $2,400 had been stolen from various machines.
Donner didn’t realize the full scope of the theft until Monday morning, when he found the largest amount, around $1,800, missing from one of the arcade’s change machines. Many of the larger arcade machines had also been hit, adding up to around $2,400 total missing.
After checking security footage, Donner found the machines had been looted by an unidentified man using various keys and what appeared to be a set of professional lock tools to open machines and take bills from inside. Security camera footage shows the man was accompanied by a woman, and the two left the scene in a white SUV. The suspect came first on Saturday and then returned near closing on Sunday.
“I went through and looked at all the cameras and saw the same guy there Saturday and Sunday night for about 30 minutes each night,” Donnor said. “What he’d do is he’d go talk to the bartender, then go steal stuff, then go back to the bartender before going back to steal more. At one point, he had the change machine open about two minutes before we closed. An employee walked by twice, and they had a conversation while he was breaking in.”
Donner reported the incident to the police but also went online, offering a $500 reward for any information leading to an arrest. As of Thursday, Donner said he’d gotten several leads and has been waiting to hear back from police.
“If you saw the videos you would understand. The guy has obviously been doing this awhile. It’s not his first time,” Donner said. “He needs to be caught before he can do it to several other places. He’s using professional level tools. He was able to break into a change machine with two high-level locks within seconds. To us, it’ll be worth it just to spare the next guy.”
Donner opened the arcade in 2013, and during the eight years he’s been in business, he said this is the first time he’s ever had anything like this happen. The theft also comes at an especially bad time as he, like many other indoor entertainment businesses owners, has been hurt by the pandemic and associated restrictions.
“We’re struggling, but in the long run we’re coming up on spring break and summer, so we’re going to be all right,” Donner said. “My wife and I went over this and decided that someone doing this during the pandemic is insane. If we’re getting hit like this, then they’re likely doing it to others.”
As of Thursday, the Lincoln City Police Department said the investigation is still ongoing and that the investigating officer is still working to identify the suspect, but was following several leads.
Anyone with information related to the theft is asked to contact the Lincoln City Police Department at 541-994-3636.