The investigation into the parking meter break-ins began on Aug. 14, when an employee at the city's Parking Department called police to report that parking meters were being broken into across the city.
Parking attendants charged with collecting coins, the employee said, were noticing that some parking meters were already empty.
In the span of just one month, 200 parking meters had been broken into and more than $1,000 had been stolen, according to police.
The Parking Department determined that targeted meters were on Essex Street, Sewall Street, Hawthorne Boulevard, Riley Plaza, Crombie Street, Derby Street, Pickering Wharf and Lafayette Street.
On Wednesday, officers Deni Gaito, Robert Cunningham, and Thomas Pelletier, along with Sgt. Harry Rocheville and Detective Eric Connolly spread through the downtown area both on foot and in unmarked vehicles, according to this police log post.
At 1:31 p.m., while following two suspicious men on Lafayette Street, Connolly reportedly witnessed a man empty the change from a parking meter into his pocket while an accomplice kept watch.
Timothy A. Allain, 35, of 16 Cedar Crest Ave., Salem, was later arrested on charges of possessing burglarious tools, larceny below $250, two counts of breaking into a depository, receiving stolen property valued below $250 and illegal possession of a class A substance (heroin).
His alleged accomplice, later identified as Geoff Kellum, reportedly fled the scene on a bicycle. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Allain is expected to be arraigned in Salem District Court Thursday morning.
Salem Patch will post additional information as it becomes available.