A young couple faces serious charges of criminal simulation after reportedly attempting to fill the Coin Star machine at a Food City store with thousands of penny blanks in an attempt to receive cash in return.
Employees at the store, at 905 Snapps Ferry Rd., contacted the Greeneville Police Department on Tuesday when Sheldon Johnson, 23, of 303 Biddle St., and Ashley Gray, 21, of 406 Elk St., Apt. Q91, were allegedly observed using the blanks in the machine.
When officers arrived, Gray was still at the machine with 100 copper blanks, which she said she believed to be "worn down pennies," according to the report by Officer Jeff Sowers.
Officers did not believe this to be a plausible explanation.
Sowers said in the report that Johnson was watching Gray's children when they arrived.
Officers reportedly found Johnson in possession of a five-gallon bucket that was half-filled with the blanks.
The investigation determined that Johnson had poured the other half of the bucket -- approximately 2,200 blanks -- into the machine, causing it to shut down.
Had the blanks been legitimate pennies, police estimated the machine would have paid out approximately $20.
Arrest warrants for the couple noted that they "knew or should have known the coins were blanks and worthless."
Johnson was charged with criminal simulation and possession of a revoked driver license. Bond was set at $11,000.
Gray was also charged with criminal simulation. Bond was set at $5,000.