A 53-year-old Lehigh Acres man was arrested after deputies say he stole from about 200 Coca-Cola vending machines in Collier County, Cape Coral and Port Charlotte.
Reports put the losses at with an estimated $27,000.
Paul Douglas Sheets, a former Coca-Cola employee who was fired in 2005, was charged with grand theft.
An auditor from the Coca-Cola Entertainment Company reported to CCSO in late February that the company was experiencing a major loss in vending machine revenue.
Deputies believe that $19,000 was stolen in Collier County while the other $8,000 was stolen from Lee and Charlotte counties.
Reports say that while Coca-Cola employees and a Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy were setting up surveillance on a machine at the Port Charlotte Town Center in March, they ran into Sheets.
According to deputies, Sheets matched the description of a man caught on video surveillance stealing from vending machines at Naples High School, 1100 Golden Eagle Circle, and the La Quinta Inn, 185 Bedzel Circle, in February, March and April 2009.
The investigation, which included the sheriff's offices in Collier, Lee and Charlotte County along with the Cape Coral Police Department, determined that Sheets was able to steal from the machines by using keys he should have given back to the company when he was terminated.
Sheets was charged with grand theft.