Cigarette Thief Hits Neighborhood Market

Is it an extreme habit that needs feeding? A man used a concrete block to smash through a supermarket door, and once inside stole thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes. As WAFB's Matt Williams shows us in this week's Crime Stoppers report, what's even more irritating for store owners is that he does it more than once.

Carter's Grocery in Denham Springs is just off Range Avenue on Vincent Road. It's a locally owned grocery, the kind of place were the customers are more like friends than clientele. One customer, however, is doing some after hours shopping, and he knew exactly what he was looking for.

"Came straight in, came right over to the cigarettes," says Carter's co-owner Anjel Cain. "Took a whole sack and left."

It happened back on August 24 of this year, and they have video surveillance of him. You can see him filling up his garbage bag with cigarettes.

"Which is pretty easy to sell on the street," according to Livingston Sheriff's spokesman Jason Ard. "Price of cigarettes these days. Maybe trading them for drugs or what have you."

Carter's has surveillance cameras all over the store, and the fact that this guy wasn't seen on any of the others leads them to believe he's been in there before, possibly as a customer, and knew exactly where to go.

"They knew exactly where to go, exactly what to do," says Cain. "Came in and out, got exactly what they set out to get."

This mystery shopper came back again on November 6 and did the same thing: threw a chunk of concrete through the sliding glass door to get in, and stole some more smokes. Altogether the store is looking at a loss of about $4,000.

"We have a couple of areas that are close by, that are high crime areas, that we're looking into," Ard tells WAFB 9 News.

They already had a lot of security cameras up and running, but since that second break-in, they've upgraded their security even more. Of course, they hope they don't need to use it again.

If you think you might recognize that guy, and police do believe it is the same guy both times, give Crime Stoppers a call at 344-STOP. You will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Reporter: Matt Williams