Cigarette Shop Becomes Break-In Target for 2nd Time in Less Than 2 Weeks

Two men broke in to Smokey Top Tobacco on Nov. 19, operating in a similar fashion as a previous burglary on Nov. 10, police report.

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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Harry Callahan November 28, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Having the security video,what race were the culprits,or is that not permitted,but by the article I have my own opinion,
TP Resident November 28, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Come on Harry you know better than that. This editor doesn't find race in a description to be important. It's his favorite thing to leave out...which is also one of the most important things to the article and looking for the criminal. Cause my guess is the guy went home and changed his clothes.
rifle November 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM
As I've said many times before, racism is alive and well in the south suburbs.
TP Resident November 28, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Funny, I don't recall Harry or myself saying anything racist.
Tired of the B.S. November 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Hey, at least we know what clothes to be on the lookout for, "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, the report continued." We also have a great description of the vehicle, "a gray, four-door, late-model sedan—possibly an Acura TL". Too bad we don't get a description of the actual people that committed the crime.
Bob Laird November 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM
police in foot chase with puffy black jacket and fishing cap???? black stocking cap and tan shoes apprehended near mall???
Harry Callahan November 28, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Thanks for the back-up TP, its to bad these do-gooders who bring up racism on others comments are not the victims of these crimes.
TP Resident November 28, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Since the description states that they were men wouldn't that be sexist? When the police were on the hunt for these guys I am sure that the race and clothing of them were the main descriptors the cops were going with.
Joe Vince (Editor) November 29, 2012 at 08:55 AM
Patch's policy on race in crime stories: "Use [race] as part of a complete description when that information may aid in the capture of a suspect. A solid description includes three unchangeable characteristics of the person." Exhibit A for the defense is the case of alleged "John Doe Duffle Bag" killer Salvatore Perrone, who was caught on closed-circuit video: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/409378/20121128/brooklyn-shopkeeper-murder-salvatore-perrone-police-sketch.htm My favorite things to leave out of articles: All the swears and colorful language. The most important things when tracking down a criminal: His/her name and address. Joe Vince Local Editor, Tinley Park
So There November 29, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This political correctness is so out of hand. If they were black, white, hispanic, asian, whatever, then state it. Trying not to "offend" anyone is ridiculous.
Bob Laird November 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
wouldn't it be nice if every crook left his/her name and address at the scene?
TP Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:22 PM
You would be a great detective Joe. It would be great if thieves left their business card, but they don't! Hence the public (your readers) wanting to know as much about a suspect as possible. I hate to say it but your political correctness isn't helping your readers or your paper. If you were able to say they were male why wouldn't you say their race? Maybe thats sexist. How do you expect people to turn to your paper for news updates when something is happening around town. Knowing you will not be giving full details and descriptions? How come you are the first editor to work this way? Every other editor let us know as much as they knew. I have noticed in the last couple of months people aren't as active on the patch as they use to be.
Bob Laird November 29, 2012 at 02:33 PM
whassamatter TP? you don't like "caption this" or "vote on that" ? I like the patch because it's all local news, but there is way too much fluff. Joe, TP's right. The fluff's OK, but we want more news and facts.
Joe Vince (Editor) November 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM
@TP Resident: * I follow Patch's policy—quoted above—when it comes to race in crime stories. This isn't something I created to pass along what you might perceive are my political views. Nor is it an unusual policy for news outlets. * I can't speak to the practice of past editors. I can only speak to my own reporting, which includes identifying race when appropriate, like today: http://tinleypark.patch.com/articles/blotter-driver. Also, there seems to be this assumption that police reports always list a suspects' race. That's just not so. * The idea of people skipping Patch because race is being left out doesn't worry me much because: 1) You're still reading the articles despite being one of the most outspoken critics of the policy, showing that the stories still have value (and I sincerely hope you continue as a reader); and 2) as far as I can tell, Patch is the only outlet that has reported this incident. * In the end, I think we're at an agree-to-disagree impasse. I'm always happy to answer readers' questions and concerns and keep Patch's news gathering as transparent as possible. This job requires constant judgment calls, and reader feedback is always appreciated. I'm not right all the time (but in this case I am). And if Patch's policy changes on race in crime stories, I will follow those changes. Joe Vince Local Editor, Tinley Park
Joe Vince (Editor) November 29, 2012 at 05:39 PM
@Bob Laird: Thanks for your comments. Make no mistake, news is Patch's bread and butter, but we try to be more than that. The description we like to us is that it's town square for people to come and exchange information and ideas about everything in the community. That being said, I agree with you that there are coverage areas that are lacking, which I firmly place on my shoulders. It's part of the transition of learning the ins and outs of a new community, something that should keep improving in the coming weeks. Right now, there are a few stories in the pipeline that will be more to your liking. Keep reading, and I'd like to hear what you think come the new year (warning: you will have to read a lot of holiday stories, but not at the expense of the news you're looking for). Again, thanks for the insight. It's much appreciated. Joe Vince Local Editor, Tinley Park
Harry Callahan November 30, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Hey Joe, give me a second so I can get my violin out.
Tired of the B.S. November 30, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Hey Joe, Since most criminals do not leave their name and address at the scene of the crime, wouldn't a complete description aid in the capture of a suspect? Telling us that they wore a hat or a puffy black jacket is great, but how about something like: The suspect is a white male around 20 to 25 years old, 160 lbs., with blond hair and a puffy black jacket. Suspect #2 is a black male 25 to 30 years old, 200 lbs., with black hair and wearing blue jeans and tan shoes. These descriptions would actually help.
Joe Vince (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 08:38 PM
@Tired of the B.S.: I absolutely agree with you, and when the police reports have those facts, I list them (check out the link in a comment I made down thread for such an article). In fact, your examples are perfect illustrations of Patch's policy. Of course, the problem is that the descriptions of suspects usually aren't that complete. But when they are, I definitely relay that information. And while I'm commenting, I will mention an exception to Patch's policy of three unchangeable features. Race can be used as an identifier if it's accompanied by a unique or distinguishing feature, like a visible scar or tattoo. In that case, it helps create a meaningful description of the suspect, which is the ultimate goal. Joe Vince Local Editor, Tinley Park
sweet heart December 01, 2012 at 07:30 PM
what mall? Furing the day or at night?
sweet heart December 01, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Joe u are awsome man u should been a police man, yourself.
sweet heart December 01, 2012 at 07:33 PM
thats funny!
jeff f December 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM


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