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Two men arrested for theft of Palm Beach County voting machine

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Two men were arrested on Thursday for stealing one of Palm Beach County's voting machines, complete with its controversial "butterfly" ballot, and trying to sell it on the Internet.

A news release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the men tried to sell the machine and ballot on the Internet auction site eBay for $2,000.

 

The FDLE was notified of the Internet advertisement by Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore.

A law enforcement special agent responded to the Web posting, posing as an interested buyer. In a phone conversation about the sale, one of the suspects upped the price on the machine and ballot to $20,000. The agent asked to see the items before purchase, and met with two men on a street corner at 5 p.m. EST.

At that meeting, the two suspects displayed the goods and negotiated a price of $4,000 to complete the sale. FDLE special agents then arrested Mark Bruce Richter, 41, and Steven Robert Solomon, 43, both of Lake Worth, Florida.

Both are charged with unlawful possession of a voting machine, which is a felony, and dealing in stolen property. In addition, Solomon is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Agents found a 40-caliber semiautomatic pistol in his fanny pack.

In interviews after their arrests, the men said the voting machine was stolen from the Winston Trails Clubhouse in Lake Worth on Thursday, November 9. It was being stored there until workers from the elections department could pick it up.

The men were booked into the Palm Beach County jail.


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Friday, November 17, 2000


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