Over the past two months, more than a dozen Murfreesboro businesses have been the target of burglars stealing large quantities of cigarettes, police said.
In one of the break-ins, the thieves stole more than 100 cartons of cigarettes and an additional 110 single packs, the Murfreesboro Police Department said.
(The average carton contains 200 cigarettes. By that measurement, the store that lost more than 100 cartons would have lost more than 20,000 cigarettes.)
The break-ins have occurred at different times of the night. In most of the burglaries, a rock was used to break the glass on the front door to gain entry. The suspects are in and out of the businesses before officers can arrive.
In March, the MPD reported burglaries happening at eight businesses in which suspects used crow bars to enter stores and steal cigarettes and other items.
When asked if the cases were connected, MPD Public Information Officer Larry Flowers said, “No connection has been made at this point. Detectives haven’t ruled anything out.”
According to MPD, the following businesses have been targeted over the past two months:
- 69 Vape N Smoke, 1627 NW Broad St.: On April 19 at about 12:36 a.m., two suspects, unknown race, threw a jack stand through the front glass door and entered the store. They took merchandise from a display case and fled through the back door.
- Sami’s Market: 2975 S. Rutherford Blvd., Suite B: On May 10 at approximately 1:07 a.m., a male, unknown race, entered the business through the front door and took more than 100 cartons of cigarettes and an additional 110 single packs. The suspect left through a rear door.
- Dollar General, 2011 SE Broad St.: On May 28 around 11:38 p.m., an unknown subject broke out the glass of the Dollar General and gained entry and attempted to steal cigarettes but was unable to. The suspect is possibly a black or Hispanic male.
- A M Tobacco and Beer, 2075 Lascassas Pike, Suite A: On May 28 at approximately 11:49 p.m., video surveillance shows a black male wearing dark navy-blue pants, sweatshirt, beanie, black sneakers with white soles, gloves and his face covered throwing a rock through the glass front door and entering. The suspect went behind the counter and stuffed around 20 cartons of Newport Menthol cigarettes in a dark-colored satchel style bag.
- Kwik Mart, 315 N. Front St.: On June 1 around 2:09 a.m., video showed a black male, wearing a black hoodie, black pants, black sneakers with white soles, white gloves with a shirt or bandana covering his face, entering the business by tossing a large rock through the front glass door. The suspect grabbed several boxes of Menthol cigarettes, shoved them into a black duffle bag and ran out. The suspect only spent two minutes inside.
- South Church Street Market, 1411 S. Church St.: On June 5 at approximately 10:15 p.m., a rock was used to break the glass. An unknown suspect or suspects entered the and stole about 55 cartons of cigarettes.
- Thompson Tobacco and Beer, 2122 N. Thompson Lane, Suite E: On June 5 around 2:20 a.m., officers discovered a rock had been thrown through the front glass door. Video showed a suspect wearing a dark hooded sweat shirt and light-colored shorts attempting to make entry into the business around 12:06 a.m. The suspect took off running after he couldn’t get inside. No merchandise was taken.
- Dollar General, 2015 Mercury Blvd.: On June 9 at approximately 12:36 a.m., an unknown suspect damaged the front glass door using a large rock and gained access. The suspect ransacked the business and damaged a glass cigarette case before leaving. After reviewing the video, a manager noticed the suspect returned to the business at around 3:48 a.m., damaging another glass case before leaving. The suspect returned at 4 a.m. and stayed four minutes damaging other items.
- 96 Tobacco and Beer Depot, 2015 Lascassas Pike, Suite A: On June 11 around 3:01 a.m., a burglar broke a glass door, entered, stole cash, and 21 cartons of Newport cigarettes and an addition 89 single packs of Newport cigarettes.
- Kwik Sak Gas Station, 1630 Bradyville Pike: On June 17 around 2:02 a.m., a male wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, gray or white hat, white shoes, carrying a duffel bag, shattered the front glass door using a large piece of concrete from a drainage culvert. Video shows the suspect going straight to the cigarettes and placing 30 cartons of Newport Menthol 100’s into the bag.
- Dollar General, 4412 Manchester Pike: On June 17 at around 2:32 a.m., officers responded to an alarm. Officers discovered the back door unsecure and several packs of cigarettes missing from a cabinet as well as packs everywhere on the floor. The suspect seen on video appeared to be a white male approximately 6 feet tall, slim build and wearing a black hoodie, black pants and purple undershorts. The suspect was in the store only two minutes.
- Dollar General, 2015 Mercury Blvd.: On June 21 around 12:15 a.m., a suspect used a large rock to break the glass of the front door. The suspect, wearing blue jeans shorts, black and white patterned long sleeve shirt and a blue T-shirt wrapped around his head, went directly behind the counter to the cigarettes display. He took cigarettes and a box that contained Subwoofer speakers. The suspect returned to the business around 3:15 a.m. and took a box containing a printer. Store management believes this is the same suspect from the June 9 burglary.
- Dollar General, 1707 Bradyville Pike: On June 23 at about 3:53 a.m., video shows a black male, matching the description of recent burglaries where cigarettes were stolen gain access to the store by throwing a large rock through the glass door. The suspect used the same rock to break the cigarette display case and stole multiple packs of Newport cigarettes.
Detectives need help in identifying the suspects.
If you have any information, please call Crime Stoppers at 615-893-STOP (7867) Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm. You could receive up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest(s).