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Cigarette thieves snatch and run, TCPD Chief says ‘Get the money first’


     A recent rash of snatch and run cigarette thefts from at least five Tabor City stores has prompted a warning from Police Chief Donald Dowless.

     “Get the money first,” is the advice Dowless has for merchants, urging store owners to pass the message on to employees.

     “We need to send a warning,” Dowless said. “We’ve had a rash of these, from the Vape Shop, Food Lion, the IGA, and both Vasco convenience stores,” Dowless said. “These cigarette’s aren’t cheap, $70 or more a carton, and it’s too easy to just snatch them and run.”

     In each of the reported cases a customer has asked for one or more cartons of cigarettes, the Newport brand most common. Once the cigarettes are placed on the counter, the customer will grab them and flee, sometimes after asking for another item to distract the store worker.

     “It’s brazen,” Dowless said. “It’s like you see going on in California. We’ve had people load up the buggy at Food Lion and just push it out the door without paying, taking off.”

     For more on this story and the rest of the week’s news see Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.