Cigarette thief hits seven stores, takes $10,000 worth of product

The front door of the Valero Corner Store on Broadway and Power Rd is boarded up after a break-in last night.

In the past month, more than $10,000 in cigarettes have been stolen from seven convenience stores in Grand Junction and from two stores in nearby towns, police said.

Three of the burglaries were reported between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Monday at convenience stores in the Redlands and at another store on Patterson Road.

The suspect is described as a white male, 6 feet tall, weighing about 175 pounds. He uses a signature style at each break-in: smashing through the store’s glass doors and then only stealing cigarettes.

Spokeswoman Kate Porras of the Grand Junction Police Department said the suspect takes at least $1,000 worth of cigarettes from each store.

Porras declined to say whether a particular brand of cigarettes was stolen more than others.

An employee at one of the burglarized stores, Valero at 2520 Broadway Ave., said the burglar only took Marlboros.

On Monday afternoon, customers there entered though a boarded up front door. A vehicle’s muffler sat nearby, an object some believe was used to break the glass.

Porras said police are reviewing videotape of the incidents and may soon release the video for public viewing.

The suspect was wearing a black ski mask, gloves and a black-hooded sweatshirt.

The first break-in occurred early on the morning Sept. 7. Similar burglaries have occurred at convenience stores in Fruita and Gypsum.

All the burglaries occurred in the early-morning hours when the stores were closed, Porras said.

Valero Corner Store, 2520 Broadway Ave.; Loco Food Store, 2249 Broadway Ave., and Loco Food Store, 599 29 1/2 Road, were targeted early Monday morning, police said.

Other burglarized Grand Junction stores include: Loco Food Store, 2902 F Road; Bookcliff Gas & Groceries, 2896 North Ave.; Shell Station, 401 30 Road; and Super C, 2685 Unaweep Ave.

“It’s certainly an interesting one,” Porras said of the break-ins. “We’re looking at all leads. We’d love to have some public help with this one.”

Anyone with information on the burglaries should call Crime Stoppers at 241-7867.


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