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Man in Halloween mask steals bills from arcade machine in Deerfield Beach

Employees identify thief as longtime customer Stephen Canastraro

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man was arrested Wednesday, a week after he entered a convenience store wearing a Halloween mask and stole bills from an arcade machine, authorities said.

The incident was reported Oct. 17 at U.S. 1 Discount Beverage at 1320 S. Federal Highway.

According to an arrest report, Stephen Canastraro, 59, put on the mask just before entering the business and immediately walked to the arcade machine, which he smashed with a hammer.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said one employee was inside the business at the time, but went into the office behind the counter after Canastraro came inside because he feared for his life.

Authorities said Canastraro did not say anything as he broke into the machine and took two bills.

"With the hammer, he banged the machine glass and he took a few hundred dollar bills that were hanging in there," store clerk Abu Jafar told Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen. 

Employees later reviewed surveillance video and saw Canastraro while he was outside, just before he put on the mask. The employees told authorities they recognized Canastraro as the thief, because he is a regular customer who has been shopping at the store for at least 10 years. 

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Deputies said Canastraro went back to the store Monday and was confronted by a clerk as he tried to purchase a Budweiser beer. 

He eventually left without the beer, authorities said.

According to the arrest report, employees identified Canastraro in a photo lineup.

He was arrested Wednesday at his home on charges of robbery with a weapon and committing a second-degree felony while wearing a mask. 

Authorities said Canastraro claimed he had been a customer at the business for more than 20 years and was upset because he had spent a lot of money on the arcade machine. 

He told detectives he planned to use the stolen money to fix his teeth, the arrest report stated.

Canastraro appeared in court Thursday, where he was ordered held in lieu of a $20,000 bond. 


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