Two unidentified men broke in to a cigarette shop early Nov. 19, less than 10 days after a duo using similar tactics burglarized the business, Tinely Park Police reports.
This time, however, no merchandise or money was taken from Smokey Top Tobacco and Coffee, 7301 W. 183rd St., according to the report.
Police responded to an active alarm at 4:09 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, for an active burglary alarm at the shop, the report stated. When officers arrived, they found the front door intact but unlocked, and cigarette packages and lighters strewn about the floor behind and in front of the sales counter, the report continued. Two cash registers with empty money trays were open, the report stated.
Police watched a security video with the store's owner, the report stated. On the video, a gray, four-door, late-model sedan—possibly an Acura TL—pulled into Smokey Top's lot at 4:02 a.m, and a man wearing gloves, a black stocking cap, gray jacket, tan shoes and jeans got out of the car and to pry open the store's front door with a crowbar, the report stated. Another man—this one holding two large plastic tubs and wearing a light-colored fisherman’s hat and a puffy black jacket—got out of the car and went inside the store with the other suspect, te report continued.
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Inside, the men saw that the cigarette cartons and other valuable merchandise was boarded up and left immediately, knocking over some displays as they exited, the report stated.
This break-in was similar to one on Nov. 10, when two men used the same approach to steal 125 cartons of cigarettes and the Smokey Tops two cash registers.
Owner Tarek Hamouri said Tuesday, Nov. 27, police had no leads as to who was responsible for the break-ins, but he knew cigarette shops around the area were popular targets for criminals.
"It's easy money for them," he said.
Hamouri wouldn't discuss how the break-ins were affecting his business but said Smokey Top would remain open. For Hamouri, these types of incidents are simply the price of owning a cigarette shop.
"This is just stuff that happens every day," he said. "Life doesn't stop because of it."
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