Garden City Police arrested Henry W. Guntrum Jr. and Chad E. Atwood on grand theft charges after officers say they caught the pair unloading a Statesman newspaper box out of a pickup around 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Police say that box was stolen somewhere in Boise and brought to Garden City, where the 40-year-old Guntrum lives. Officers say they found four other newspaper boxes at Guntrums home in the 200 block of E. 43rd Street later Tuesday morning and seven more near along Idaho 21 near Lucky Peak Dam.
Police say the thefts occurred over the past three weeks. Idaho Statesman managers say 24 boxes have been stolen or broken into over that same period of time. Ten of the boxes are unaccounted for.
The boxes recovered all have damaged coin receptacles. Some boxes had the tops ripped off, others were damaged near the locking mechanism by the coin box. All the coins were removed.
Police said the damage to the metal boxes cost in excess of $12,000. The Statesman said the damage far exceeded the value of the money taken.
Officers identified Guntrum as a suspect in late January and had him under surveillance. Police reports do not say anything about a suspected motive like why so much effort was put into stealing such a small amount of cash. The boxes usually are secured by concrete blocks and metal wires, which police say the men broke.
Its unclear how police identified Guntrum as a suspect. Garden City police officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
Guntrum and 30-year-old Atwood will make initial court appearances Wednesday. The crime of grand theft, which can be charged if the value of what is stolen is above $1,000, is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr