Cigarette burglar hitting Fresno stores

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police need your help solving another rash of cigarette burglaries, this time in Fresno.

In the last few weeks, there have been 11 break-ins at convenience stores, and most of the burglaries appear to be carried out by the same man.

Jack's Car Wash in Northwest Fresno was hit again on Wednesday.

Courtney, an employee at the store, said, "People are losing sleep, people are losing money. I don't know what you are getting out of it. So like I said I'm just at a loss for words. It's just frustrating."

In the last few months, Jack's Car Wash has been hit three times.

They aren't alone.

Police believe the same man has hit stores in Northwest and Northeast Fresno.

It's a highly lucrative crime.

"(Cigarettes) are worth a lot of money," said Fresno Police Lt. Joe Gomez. "He's loading them up. He's packing the backpack, taking as many as he can, taking them in his arms."

Detectives believe the man is likely reselling the cigarettes on the streets.

There's a high demand, ever since a tobacco tax last year increased prices by $2 per pack.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says "What we encourage businesses to do is to secure those things like cigarettes that come in small cartons that have great value, and there's a tremendous demand out there."

Employees at Jack's say they have learned that lesson the hard way.

"If you see someone selling them on the low, there you go, you know they are the ones taking them," said Courtney.

After the break-ins, they've changed store policies, lock up the cigarettes after 6 pm, and added additional security.

So far, the heists have cost them more than $8,000.

Detectives say the suspect has some very distinctive traits. He often wears the same black hoodie and is on the same bicycle while committing these crimes.

If you have any information, please call Fresno Police.
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