Detectives are searching for a suspect who has burglarized 12 convenience stores, 11 in South Tampa and one in Central Tampa, since the end of October, according to a Tampa Police Department press release.
Each time, the suspect broke into the convenience stores merely to steal cigarettes, sometimes hitting the same business on different days.
Most of the burglaries have occurred between 4 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. and the suspect gained access either by prying a door open or smashing a sliding glass door.
The cigarette bandit has burglarized the following businesses:
- On Oct. 30, , 3111 W Bay to Bay Blvd. At 5 a.m. on Nov. 22, he broke into the same business and stole 75 cartons of cigarettes. At 4.30 a.m. the same morning, the suspect broke into the BP gas station store at 301 N Dale Mabry Hwy., and took an undetermined number of cigarettes.
- On Nov. 4, , 3318 Henderson Blvd. On Nov. 20, he broke into the same business and took 15 cartons of Marlboro cigarettes.
- On Nov. 11, , 1421 S Howard Ave. .
- On Nov. 13, , 6101 Interbay Blvd. The surveillance video shows the suspect placing the cigarette cartons in a garbage bin.
- On Nov. 23, the suspect took 40 cartons of cigarettes at Farm Store, 3815 S Manhattan Ave. He broke into the same convenience store two days later and took 25 cartons of cigarettes.
- On Nov. 27, he stole 96 cartons of Marlboro cigarettes at West Shore Food Mart, 3446 S Westshore Blvd.
- On Dec. 12, the suspect broke into Walgreens at 6818 N Armenia Ave. and stole 40 cartons of cigarettes.
The suspect was described as a black male with distinctive teeth, 40-50 years, 5 feet and 10 inches to 6 feet tall and approximately 200-225 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Tampa Police Department at (813) 354-6600. Individuals wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.