Cigarette thief wanted after string of burglaries

Surveillance image of the cigarette thief. / Jessica Fairley

Albany police are asking for the public's help in finding a thief who's targeting local stores.

The crook is breaking into stores and getting away with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

Store owners say it's time for his string of crimes to stop.

After seven burglaries in seven different locations within the same block, police say the cigarette thief has become bold.

Murphy USA gas station managers thought their troubles were over when the crook broke into the facility a week ago.

"He got about 1,800 dollars worth the first time. He got 24 cartons of cigarettes," said Murphy USA Express Assistant Manager Richard Bass.

Yet when he received a second call from authorities on Monday morning, he knew the intruder had come back for more, but this time it was all caught on tape.

"In these burglaries there's a black male that appears to go to the front glass window, remove the window and go in and takes cigarettes or beer," said Albany Police Department Detective Darryl Jones.

In the suspect's second time hitting the Murphy gas station he got away with 18 cartons of cigarettes.

He may have only gotten away with tobacco products but each carton of Newports that he took costs over 40 dollars and that's taking money out of the pockets of the owners.

But for store managers it's not just the merchandise that they have a concern for.

"It's nerve racking because what if one of us were here? That's our main concern the safety of the employees," said Richard Bass.

Bass is beefing up his security to keep the cigarette thief out and hopes that by releasing the surveillance footage, someone will come forward and reveal the suspect's identity.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 229-436-TIPS (8477).