Police in Union County are investigating a Winston cigarette burglary from a convenience store — possibly carried out by the same gang responsible for a string of similar crimes in recent weeks across four counties.
Monroe police say someone broke through the side door of the Catawba Food Mart, in the 2800 block of U.S. 74 West, about 3:30 a.m. Monday. The two thieves took 30 cartons of cigarettes, police said. Investigators said they got surveillance video of the pair, but the two thieves covered their faces.
At least 15 stores have been burglarized in recent weeks, with the thieves breaking through front doors or windows and taking large amounts of cigarettes. In several cases, the burglars were seen on surveillance video dumping the cigarettes into trash cans and hauling them to their vehicle.
Burglaries have been reported as far west as Sharon Amity and Albemarle roads, and as far east as Anson County. The burglars have hit stores in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus and Anson counties, targeting mostly stores in eastern Mecklenburg and western Union counties.