Deputies search for thief who snatched $2,300 worth of cigarettes from car

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A fast grab, and even faster escape, equals fast cash for this suspect. 

The man caught on camera in Easton, snatching dozens of cartons of cigarettes out of a Jiffy Food Stop store owner’s backseat.

“We’re talking $2,300 worth of cigarettes, runs off, jumps into a getaway vehicle, and he’s gone,” Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Information Officer Tony Botti said. 

Speeding-off in a silver four-door, possibly with a getaway driver. 

Officials say the store owner had just bought the cigarettes at Sam’s Club in Fresno.

“There’s a chance that he was followed back to his store,” Botti said.

The victim, not seen on video, gave some cartons to his business partner, then went to the back of the store to grab a drink.

Our suspect, already inside, buying his own beverage.

“He actually walks past the suspect and acknowledges him as he’s in his store, and this guy’s just so cold, that he looks him in the eye, and basically, must be saying in his head, ‘I’m about to rip you off,'” Botti said. “And he does.” 

Botti says, it’s a crime authorities are seeing more and more.

“We notice a lot of times when people break into businesses, not only are they trying to look for cash, they’re taking cigarettes, they’re taking lotto tickets,” Botti said.

But the store, heavily armed with cameras, and clear pictures now show the suspect. 

Officials describing him as a black man, 5-foot-6, in his mid-20s, with a medium build, mustache and bright black, orange and white tennis shoes.

“If you’re in this line of work, be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Botti said. 

Officials say the suspect will face felony grand theft charges, since he stole more than $950 worth of goods.

If you have any information, contact the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.

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