Trail of smoke

Crimestoppers: Cigarette bandits strike again

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A cigarette theft ring is leaving a trail of smoke all over the city.

Their latest heist took place on a Monday night in the Walgreens on West Sugar Creek.

Surveillance shows customers at the front register checking out. Two men suddenly rush in. One is dressed in dark clothes, wearing a medical mask and yellow gloves.

"They threatened the employees with a gun, but they never, ever showed a gun,"
said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson.

We see the crook push a female customer out of the way. He motions to his accomplice, who lays on the counter, grabbing a tray full of cigarette cartons.

They want even more, so he jumps over the counter and finds boxes of cigarettes to hand to his partner. They get three big boxes, worth $4,000 of smokes and quickly disappear out the front door.

"We've had cigarettes being stolen, not small quantities, we're talking cartons and cartons of cigarettes that add up to large sums of money."

One thing police are paying close attention to are the surgical masks and yellow gloves both men were wearing.

"And that's kind of odd, we don't usually see that when they're all covered up just to take cigarettes."

If you can help stop the smoke stealers, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. You could earn a reward and won't have to leave your name.

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