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Superior police seek info on serial cigarette thieves

The Superior Police Department is asking for the public's help in solving a string of cigarette burglaries and attempted burglaries at two ICO convenience stores, and the company is offering a reward for information.

The Superior Police Department is asking for the public's help in solving a string of cigarette burglaries and attempted burglaries at two ICO convenience stores, and the company is offering a reward for information.

Over the past two weeks, police have responded to four burglary alarm calls at the ICO convenience stores located at 2704 N. 21st St. and 5926 Tower Ave. The first burglary was during the early morning of

July 3 at the Billings Park store. A large quantity of cigarettes was taken. The second incident took place two days later at the South Superior store, again during the early morning. A quantity of cigarettes was also taken in that incident.

"Cigarettes have become a bigger target for theft because they are so valuable," Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse said.

On July 9 and again on Saturday, police responded to the Billings Park location to find a smashed glass front door. No one had entered the building.

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LaGesse told Northland's NewsCenter the incidents are a concern.

"Every crime is a concern, however, when we see a pattern -- in this case it's a single convenience store chain that's being targeted by someone doing the same crime and targeting the cigarette sales -- then we have a pattern, and it's a problem that we start to focus our attention," he said.

LaGesse went on to say that he believes the individuals involved in the incidents are reselling the stolen merchandise. The burglaries began shortly after Minnesota's sales tax on cigarettes went up to a little higher than Wisconsin's.

"The cost of a pack of cigarettes has gotten to where people who are addicted to them can't afford to buy them," he said, "so they become a target for theft because they can be sold on the street at a reduced price by somebody who would steal them."

The total loss to date is approximately $2,500 worth of cigarettes and more than $5,500 in damage.

ICO Corporation is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICESUPERIOR
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