Police: Plastic bag-masked cigarette thief sought - FOX Carolina 21

Police: Plastic bag-masked cigarette thief sought

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Police are trying to identify a person of interest and a suspect in a string of burglaries. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.) Police are trying to identify a person of interest and a suspect in a string of burglaries. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.)
They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.) They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.)
They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.) They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.)
They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.) They said each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head. (Source: Mauldin Police Dept.)
MAULDIN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Mauldin police are looking for help after a string of cigarette burglaries at area stores.

Officers said between July 2013 and April 2014, a man forced his way through the front glass door of seven convenience stores and pharmacies.

They said, each time he took cartons of cigarettes, sometimes while wearing a plastic bag over his head, "coming in, busting the glass out and throwing all the cigarettes into a box that he's got, then hopping back out the window," said Robby Kellett, who owns Kellett's Korner, one of the burglarized stores.

Police said while they have yet to identify him, they believe he is reselling the cigarettes.

"In other states around the U.S., these cartons of cigarettes are a lot more expensive than they are here," said Sgt. Ben Ford with Mauldin police. "He could be selling them locally or taking them somewhere else."

And store owners like Kellett said they're eating the cost of the damage and theft because even if they are reimbursed, their insurance costs rise.

Kellett said customers should care, even if they don't smoke, because it affects their budgets, too.

"Anytime that you have theft, you're driving the cost up," he said.

Police have released surveillance photos of a person of interest, the man without his face hidden, and a suspect, the person with a bag on his face.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Mauldin Police Department at 864-289-8900. 

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