FLORISSANT, Mo. — Police say three men from Georgia were able to steal thousands of dollars from slot machines at two local bars using their phones. 

Jermaine Bes, Xavier Higgs, and Brandon Battle, all of Georgia, are each charged with two counts of felony stealing after police said they targeted two Florissant bars over the past eight days. 

Court documents reveal the three are accused of targeting Joe Momma’s bar on Florissant Oaks on Wednesday, April 24th and The Hall Pass bar on N. Lindbergh on Sunday, April 28th.  

Records show the men were caught on camera using their phones to tamper with the slot machines and print out two winning tickets worth a combined $8,000. 

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St. Louis native and cybersecurity expert Brian Miller, who founded his own cybersecurity company, Ivoryware, in 2018, said gaming machines like the ones targeted are often connected to the internet, making it easier for hackers to break in. 

“If it is technology, it can be exploited in some way,” Miller said. “There is just no shortage of people looking for opportunities to find those bugs.” 

Miller believes these thieves somehow used their phones to connect to the slot machine, either through the internet or using Bluetooth. He thinks they likely used a QR code to gain access and infiltrate the system. 

It’s a small heist, but one that Miller said will likely cost somebody a lot of money. 

“Someone’s going to be responsible for a misconfiguration somewhere, which drives home the necessity: you have to test your technology before you just release it for public use,” Miller said. 

Instead of turning to crime, Miller suggests young people look into a career in cybersecurity, as many companies are looking to hire right now. 

“They would love to have you test their systems and give them a report so they can fix the holes and gaps in these systems before they release them to the public,” he said. 

The three men are being held at the St. Louis County Jail on a $50,000, cash-only bond.