Homeless man caught attacking vending machines

McKenna, 36 (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
McKenna, 36 (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Myrtle Beach Police have arrested a homeless man for attacking and stealing from vending machines following a struggle in the bushes at Broadway at the Beach.

According to an incident report, officers responded to Broadway at the Beach in the early morning hours Friday where vending machines have reportedly been compromised. Security officers for Broadway at the Beach told the officers they observed a male suspect skulking around in the area of the machines and their machines had been damaged the night before.

When the security officers confronted that male suspect, they told the officers, the suspect ran. Additional security officers were alerted, who began to observe the suspect through video surveillance.

The suspect was chased throughout Broadway at the Beach, and was later spotted hiding in the bushes near Landry's. When confronted by a security officer, the suspect leapt out and punched him with a closed fist, the report stated.

After a struggle, involving pepper spray, the suspect was detained. EMS responded to the scene for the security officer and the suspect.

During a search of the suspect, the officers found a large amount of one dollar bills, but the tool used to break in to the vending machines was not recovered.

The suspect, James Tyler McKenna, is currently in custody at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. McKenna is charged with:

  • Assault /Assault & Battery 3rd Degree
  • Burglary (Non-Violent)
  • Malicious Inj. To Animals, Personal Prop. Value Over $1,000 But Less Than $5,000
  • Malicious Injury To Tree, House; Trespass Upon Real Property, Value $2,000 Or Less
  • Petit or Simple Larceny Under $2,000
  • Receiving Stolen Goods Under $2,000
  • Ordinance/Trespass

McKenna's bond is set at $12,195.

A similar incident of burglary to vending machines occurred at the Reef Resort Thursday, where a suspect pried open a Coke machine and stole approximately $150 from the money box within. Video surveillance shows a suspect forcing their way into the hotel, but did not capture the actual burglary from the machine.

Anyone with information about that incident should contact Myrtle Beach Police.

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