The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an organized and pre-planned theft of cigarettes that occurred on Tuesday at the Mountain Store in Boulder Creek.
On Jan. 15, the owner of the Mountain Store purchased 110 cartons of cigarettes in San Jose from a whole sale vendor. It was later determined that the store owner was followed by three suspects in a black Hyundai from San Jose to Boulder Creek.
Upon arriving to the store, the victim started to unload the cigarettes. The suspects exited their vehicle and grabbed the remaining cigarettes out of the victim’s vehicle. The suspects got back into their vehicle and drove away towards Bear Creek Road. The vehicle had a license plate of CA - 6DCD574 and is registered to an address in Oakland California. Investigators obtained video footage of the suspects and the theft.
This appears to be the first operation of this magnitude in Santa Cruz County, but there have been criminally sophisticated thefts in the larger Bay Area.
The three suspects are described as 16-18-years-old with black hair. In all they took 110 cartons of cigarettes with an approximate value of about $5,000.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to warn local merchants to be careful when transporting large amount of merchandise. Be aware of your surroundings and carry a cell phone. Merchants should also have a plan in case they are a victim of a large scale theft.