Police looking for cigarette burglar

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OREM -- Police departments along the Wasatch Front are looking for an unusual criminal -- a burglar who is breaking into grocery stores and stealing cigarettes. The man has already made off with about $40,000 worth of cigarettes.

All of the burglaries have one thing in common that police still can't understand: they are happening at Albertsons grocery stores.

Apparently he prefers Marlboro and Camel brands, and he has been getting away with it for weeks, in most cases stealing dozens of cartons, each with 10 packs of cigarettes.

Orem Police Lt. Gary Downey said, "We believe he has been involved in 10 of these burglaries up and down the Wasatch Front."

Orem police got involved on June 2, after the same burglar broke into the Orem Albertsons. The surveillance video shows the man walking in with a garbage bag, loading up the cartons of cigarettes and walking out the door in just a minute.

Similar break-ins happened in American Fork and Salt Lake County.

"American Fork, Salt Lake, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Draper, Kearns, Holladay, so he's spread it out pretty good. All Albertsons," Downey said.

Police say he is prying open the front doors of the stores, usually in the middle of the night. In one photo, he can be seen driving away in a four door Ford pickup truck, which is silver or grey.

Detectives doubt the man is smoking all of the cigarettes, rather selling them as a cash crop.

"He's got to be selling them, there really is no other explanation. But with the price of them, we figure he has taken $40,000 from the end of April until now," Downey said.

In addition to the $40,000 worth of stolen cigarettes, the suspect has caused thousands of dollars of damage breaking in.

The man is a white male. In the surveillance video he was wearing dark clothing and a hoodie sweatshirt. If you recognize him, Orem police would appreciate a call.

Story compiled with information from Randall Jeppesen and Sam Penrod.


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