CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police say $11,000 of cigarettes were stolen in one night from two tobacco shops on either end of town - and the crimes took all of two hours.
At 4 a.m., a maroon-colored SUV was seen parking in front of the Tobacco and Vape shop on North Tryon, not far from PNC Music Pavilion.
One man peers through the window, revealing his mask. Another man in red pants has a rock, and he uses it to break the glass.
With the glass broken, he pulls out the remaining shards by hand, eventually stepping through the door frame.
A total of three men carry two big plastic tubs inside. And they're aiming for one target - the cigarette counter.
They rake carton after carton into the tubs, not caring about the ones they drop. It's all they can carry, and they disappear quickly before the alarm brings the police.
"We're looking at about $6,000 from this business, and about $5,000 from the business in Steele Creek," CMPD Detective Brandon Miller said.
At the Steele Creek store, the same crooks pulled the same heist just two hours earlier. They used a rock to break the glass door, they carried in a blue plastic tub, and they went straight for the cigarette cartons.
"It's almost as if these guys knew exactly where the cigarettes were they wanted. Once inside, they ran in, went straight for the Newports and Marlboros, filled up that tote as much as they could and ran back out."
Fortunately before they broke in, they loitered outside and we got a partial look at their faces and what they were wearing. One had red shoes, the other had red pants.
"Bright red shoes, bright red Air Jordan shoes in both videos. Very identifiable. It makes it easy to link these two cases together."
Because they broke through glass twice in two hours, detectives wondered if they might have cut themselves, leaving blood evidence behind. The answer is, the crime techs couldn't get any DNA evidence, so we're left with just the videos.
If you think you know these guys and want to earn a cash reward without leaving your name. call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.