Police arrest fugitive ‘car wash bandit’ in North Vernon after months on the run

Dana Bailey

JENNINGS COUNTY, Ind. – Police arrested the “car wash bandit” accused of stealing thousands of dollars from car washes around the state.

Police arrested Dana Bailey in North Vernon Monday after getting a tip that he was at his mother’s home. He was taken to the Morgan County Jail on multiple charges.

According to investigators, Bailey used a fishing line and laminated bills to trick auto-pay machines into giving him money. He’s been on the run for several months; police identified Bailey as the suspect in March.

Surveillance footage from Mooresville helped police identify and eventually catch Bailey. Investigators in Jennings County told Mooresville police they were “110 percent positive” that Bailey was the man seen in the surveillance video.

A search of his North Vernon home in March 2018 turned up clues connecting him to the thefts. Investigators also found maps and atlases.

Bob Bingham, who owns two of the Mooresville locations Bailey is accused of targeting, said he’s glad the law finally caught up with the suspect.

“The video is pretty solid documentation. I’ve got a very good video system and so when everything matches up – prosecutors will make the right determination,” Bingham told FOX59.

Bingham said his main concern was getting Bailey off the street so he couldn’t steal from more businesses. Bingham said Bailey, who once worked for a company that fixes gaming machines, was clever enough to get past some serious security.

“We’re at the highest security level that you can purchase to protect yourself. And the gentleman that was doing this had some inside technology – he was pretty sharp,” Bingham said.

Investigators said Bailey has a long criminal history that includes arrests in multiple states for stealing from coin machines.