Armed robber takes cash, cigarettes from Salt Lake City tobacco shop

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police are looking for a man who robbed a tobacco shop at gunpoint Sunday.

The heist was a bit unusual because of what the robber took and how he did it.

The holdup took place at the Smoker Friendly tobacco shop at 824 W. North Temple around 1:45 p.m. The robber wasn't just after money. Police say he walked into the shop with a silver, semi-automatic handgun and demanded cartons of cigarettes, along with the cash.

"The value of the cigarettes, especially in cartons, is quite high priced," said Lt. Cal Kunz with Salt Lake police. "He demanded the cash as well as the product."

The suspect tied her up prior to leaving. It certainly would be a traumatic thing to go through for anybody, so we're really hoping to get some more information to lead us to the suspect.

–Lt. Cal Kunz

Police won't say officially how much the robber got away with. But we're told it was about $170 in cash and far more than that in cigarettes -- 10 or 12 cartons worth $800 or so.

Perhaps it's a sign of the times. Cigarettes have been expensive for years. But following a recent hike in tobacco taxes, they're even more valuable. Even so, Kunz says he doesn't know of any sudden increase in cigarette heists.

"It's pretty typical that [cigarettes] are an item that people do steal on a semi-regular basis," he said.

As the suspect was leaving, he put the clerk in fear of her life by marching her at gunpoint into a back room.

"The suspect tied her up prior to leaving," said Kunz. "It certainly would be a traumatic thing to go through for anybody, so we're really hoping to get some more information to lead us to the suspect."

The suspect took off on foot. According to one report, he got in a car with another man and a woman.

Police describe him as being in his 40s wearing a gray shirt and blue athletic pants. He was wearing two bandannas to conceal his face and head, which presumably made it even more terrifying for the clerk.

In spite of the bandannas, a bald head and bushy, brown mustache were visible.


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