DURHAM — Police in Durham, Raleigh and Cary are looking for what they believe are the same two men who have broken into several Food Lion stores and made off with what now is hundreds of cartons of cigarettes before police arrive.
The two men, seen on store security cameras, use two of the stores trash barrels to load cigarette cartons and haul them out to a getaway vehicle.
The men dress in hooded clothing and wear masks, showing they are well aware of the cameras, police noted.
They also wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, Capt. Don Hamilton, head of the Cary police Investigations Division said Tuesday.
The pairs technique is the same in each case as it was in Cary, where they used a chunk of concrete to smash glass in a front door of a Food Lion at 900 N.E. Maynard Road at about 4 a.m. on April 2.
Hamilton said that theft netted them 94 cartons.
So far, the pair has always been gone by the time police patrols can respond to an alarm from the store.
If they know where the cigarettes are, they can be in and out in a minute, Hamilton.
At about 3:30 a.m. the night after the Cary break-in, they hit the Food Lion at 4900 N.C. 55 in Durham, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.
Raleigh police are investigating two similar Food Lion break-ins, spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
One of those occurred March 2 a little after 3 a.m. at the Food Lion at 3685 New Bern Ave.
The thieves took about 70 cartons of cigarettes that time, Sughrue said.
Durham police posted a CrimeStoppers reward after the burglars struck a store at 2121 T. W. Alexander Drive a bit before 4:30 a.m. on March 12 and got away with more than 50 cartons of cigarettes.
The most-recent break-in was Friday at the Food Lion at 3500 N. Roxboro Road in Durham, again before dawn, police said.
Durham police asked that anyone with information about their cases to call Investigator J.S. Smith at 919-560-4415, ext. 29312, or CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.
If anyone has information about the break-in in Cary, they can reach Cary CrimeStoppers at 919-266-CRIME (266-2716).
In Raleigh, people who could help police are asked to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-HELP (4357) or to go to the CrimeStoppers website for instructions on reporting a tip online or by text message.