Police search for cigarette bandit

April 1, 2013 8:10:15 PM PDT
The search continues for a thief who got away with thousands of dollars in cigarettes in Cumberland County.

The owner of one of the Fayetteville stores that was targeted said the guy who ripped him off was no amateur.

"He is so good at what he does, although it's a bad thing," convenience store manager Ron Brewington said. "You can tell it has been rehearsed, and it has been done over and over and over."

Police detectives said the thief was in and out in less than 30 seconds.

The Family Fare BP on Hay Street was targeted on March 13. It was one of four Fayetteville businesses hit by thieves stealing only cigarettes. In each case, police said the break-ins happen after the stores are closed.

"They are occurring in the early morning hours usually between 2 and 4 o'clock," said Fayetteville police Sgt. Gary Womble.

On March 17, someone broke into a CVS pharmacy and stole just cigarettes. Two days later, cigarettes were stolen from a Sunoco station on Ramsey Street.  A week later on March 25, a Short Stop convenience store was robbed, but nothing but cigarettes were taken.

Police said a dark or grey minivan was used in all four break-ins.

Stealing cigarettes can be highly profitable for thieves. However, at $3-$6 per pack, police said thieves can face felony charges.

So far, police have not made any arrests. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.

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