The Tulare County Sheriff's Office is searching for whoever may be stockpiling cigarettes after a string of robberies at convenience stores that started in April.
The department is investigating at least five incidents, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Ashley Ritchie. The department released images and surveillance video Tuesday along with information of the alleged break-ins — the incidents typically happened after midnight. About $22,890 worth of cigarettes have been reported stolen from Tulare County stores.
The first incident happened around 2:30 a.m. April 27 at the Dollar General Store in Pixley. About $3,250 worth of cigarettes was stolen, according to the sheriff's office. Three days later, on April 30, suspects in similar clothing as the Dollar General Store break-in struck Doc's Corner in Tulare just after midnight. They allegedly took $1,300 worth of cigarettes.
At 3 a.m. June 15, suspects stole $8,640 worth of cigarettes from the Chevron on 36005 Highway 99 in Traver, the sheriff's office said. The suspects in that incidents drove away in a white or light-colored newer Honda with tinted windows, the sheriff's office said.
Surveillance cameras caught suspects breaking into the Red Barn on Road 196 in Exeter just before 3 a.m. June 28. The suspects in that incident got away in a gray or silver-colored Nissan with a vertical sunroof and a disabled placard in the rear-view mirror, according to the sheriff's office.
The latest incident the department is investigating took place just after 4 a.m. July 3 at the Chevron at 66005 Highway 99 in Traver, where the suspects allegedly took $6,700 worth of cigarettes. In that case, the suspects drove off in a maroon-colored Honda.