CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Detectives from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are searching for the man responsible for stealing hundreds of dollars worth of cigarettes from a west Charlotte gas station.
The incident happened in the early morning hours of July 22 at the BP gas station off of Yorkmont Road. Surveillance footage from the store shows a man pacing around outside of the business.
“He is doing exactly what we call casing a business. He’s just hanging out out front after hours in the shadows, checking his surroundings to see who and what may be around him," said Detective Brandon Miller with the CMPD Crime Stoppers.
After waiting outside of the business for a few minutes, the man returns to the front of the store with a potted plant. The surveillance footage shows the man use the plant to smash one of the businesses' glass front doors.
“We see car batteries. We’ve seen crowbars, and we’ve seen large rocks several times, but for someone to actually use a flower, this is a first in my book,” said Miller.
Surveillance video shows the man gain entry into the business and head behind the clerk's counter. He opens a plastic bag and begins to collect packs of Newport cigarettes.
“It’s hard to say but it could be one of those things where he’s just going to sell them, and try to double what these are actually worth and get that money on the street," explained Miller.
Surveillance video shows the man stuff his bag with several packs of cigarettes before leaving the store on foot. Police believe he got away with more than $800 worth of cigarettes. Miller is hopeful someone will recognize the man in the video footage, or realize that a person in their community is illegally selling cigarettes.
“If you know or if you hear of someone who is just selling cigarettes who isn’t affiliated with the business or that particular company, that is definitely a red flag and we encourage that person to call Crime Stoppers or to call 9-1-1," said Miller.
He said the suspect is believed to be anywhere from 6′ to 6′2″ with a thin build. He said the man appears to be middle-aged and was wearing a baseball hat at the time of the burglary.
If you know who this man is, please call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Tipsters can remain anonymous and can receive a cash reward if they have information that leads to an arrest.