First court date for accused coin crooks

Eight suspects accused of stealing money from dozens of vending machines in the Pine Belt made their initial appearance in court Wednesday.

Three women and five men are charged with crimes ranging from commercial burglary to possession of burglary tools.  Seven had their bail set between $25,000 and $125,000. Another suspect was denied bond.

Authorities say over several weeks the group stole money from more than 100 vending machines, many owned by Coca-Cola. The crimes happened in Forrest, Perry and Lamar counties.

Authorities say the Coca-Cola bandits could face more charges in other jurisdictions after the tri-county investigation is complete.

Meanwhile investigators are still seeking a ninth suspect, 32-year-old Edward William Freeman of Petal.