A Port Huron man has been charged with stealing an entire scratch-off lottery ticket dispensing machine from a Chesterfield Township gas station, officials said.
His 32-year-old girlfriend was also arrested for being an accessory to the theft but has yet to be formally charged, according to Chesterfield Township Police.
Russell Julius Spruytte, 31, has been charged with breaking and entering a building with intent, a 10-year felony, officials said.
He was arraigned on the charge in a district court in New Baltimore via video conference and a judge set his bond at $10,000 and scheduled his next court appearance for Thursday.
Police accuse Spruytte of breaking into the Speedy Q gas station on 26 Mile near County Line Road last Friday.
Officers were called to the business by the day manager at about 4:30 a.m. on Friday.
Police found the front glass door was broken and were told the store's display case for scratch-off lottery tickets was missing.
After reviewing footage from the store's surveillance system, officers discovered a lone male smashed in the door and took the case at about 2:45 a.m.
Investigators followed a trail of winning lottery tickets taken from the gas station that were cashed in at other businesses along a route that stretched from 10 Mile in Warren to Port Huron.
By Tuesday, detectives had their sights set on Spruytte as a suspect and set up surveillance on his Port Huron apartment, officials said. During the surveillance, police saw Spruytte and his girlfriend throw bagged garbage into the complex's dumpster.
Detectives retrieved the garbage bags and examined their contents and found hundreds of losing scratch-off tickets that they confirmed were taken from the Speedy Q gas station, according to authorities.
Police arrested Spruytte on Tuesday afternoon and recovered additional evidence after searching his apartment, officials said.