SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A 21-year-old Springfield woman has been charged with vandalizing three parking meters with a screwdriver. A second suspect, a man in his 20s, has escaped.

The arrests are the first since police began seeking the people who are stealing coins from meters. Suspects are targeting older, battery-operated meters and are smashing them with baseball bats or sledgehammers.

The Parking Authority says $45,000 in damage has been inflicted on meters during a five-day battering binge downtown. By Wednesday night, 76 meters had been broken open and $1,200 in coins stolen.

The Springfield (Mass.) Republican reports that Kimberly Lenois was released in her own custody Thursday after pleading not guilty in district court to charges of breaking into a depository, possessing burglary tools and other offenses.

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