Serial cigarette thief sought in Delaware County

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Police are looking for a serial cigarette thief who has hit about a dozen times in Delaware County. (WPVI)

Police are looking for a serial cigarette thief who has hit about a dozen times in Delaware County.

Investigators say the targets have mostly been around the Upper Darby area.

"He always wears a mask to cover up his face. He is always wearing gloves," said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

The suspect is believed to be a white male standing about six feet tall in his 20's or 30's.

Each time he breaks a glass door or window to get inside a business, then goes after the cigarettes.

"Only packs. He doesn't go for money, he doesn't go for cartons, he doesn't go for any other items," said Chitwood.

So far, the man has only gone after Marlboro and Newport brands. Police believe it's because those are hot sellers.

Chris Hunter's Liberty Station was hit twice. Last June a rock was thrown through the front door. The thief ignores a donation jar of cash and goes to the overhead racks of packs.

"Three complete racks and then out the door in a matter of seconds," Hunter said.

Then, 10 days ago, the thief tried multiple attempts to get through new, laminated glass. The glass held until the suspect hit it with his whole body.

This time he dropped some packs, and seem to slip on the floor that Hunter said was still wet from mopping.

"He didn't hurt himself, thank God. He probably would have sued me," said Hunter.

The bandit, who drives a small car, has been increasing the pace of his crimes from every couple of weeks to every couple of days.

"We believe he is a drug addict, we believe the drug habit is increasing, the crimes are being increased," said Chitwood.

Chitwood's concern about what might happen if someone tries to stop the thief in the act.

The hope is that someone recognizes something about the masked suspect and contacts police.

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