2 accused of attempted theft from vending machine at rest area in Gaylord Twp.

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Two Michigan women are accused of trying to break into a rest stop's vending machines last summer and take money meant for the blind, Michigan State Police said.

Heather Jean Briseno, 46, and Abby Lorraine Nardi, 43, both of Ishpeming, have been charged in 46th District Court in Crawford County with malicious destruction of property over $1,000 but less than $20,000, and breaking and entering of a coin-operated device in connection with the allegations, according to authorities.

Briseno

Briseno was arraigned Dec. 13 on the charges while Nardi was arraigned Tuesday.

If convicted, they face up to five years in prison for the malicious destruction of property charges and up to three years for the breaking and entering of a coin-operated device charges.

State police said troopers from the Houghton Lake Post were called Aug. 3 to the rest area located at Interstate 75 near mile marker 252 in Grayling Township.

They were told someone had tried to steal money from one of the rest area's vending machines. The state's Bureau of Services for Blind Persons owns all vending machines at Michigan rest areas and welcome centers, officials said, and the proceeds benefit the state's legally blind.

Investigators estimate the machine had about $5,000 in damage. Troopers learned money from the machine was collected earlier in the day and it contained about $30 at the time of the attempted theft.

Police reviewed video from security cameras at the rest area and saw two people trying to break into the machine for an hour, authorities said. Each person would take turns as a lookout as the other tried to get into it.

At about 2:15 a.m., a vehicle entered the rest area and the two people fled. However, the pair left behind several items, including bolt cutters and eyeglasses. Evidence technicians collected evidence and processed the crime scene. The evidence was sent to the state police's crime lab for analysis.

Detectives said the lab obtained a DNA sample from the glasses and ran it through a national database of DNA profiles. The result led them to Briseno. 

They then searched the state's database of driver's license photos and matched its image of Briseno with one of the people seen on security footage trying to break into the vending machine.

Nardi

Troopers later learned police officers with the city of Gaylord found Briseno and Nardi passed out in a vehicle at a gas station a few hours after the alleged attempted break-in of the vending machine, they said. 

Police arrested Nardi for a separate incident and took Briseno to Munson Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Officials said Nardi is seen in an officer's body cam footage wearing the same clothes as one of the people at the rest area.

After obtaining an arrest warrant, troopers arrested Briseno on Dec. 11, and transported her to the Crawford County Jail.

They arrested Nardi last month in Marquette County and she was also taken the Crawford County Jail.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez