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Monday, March 30, 2009

$900 worth of cigars stolen (Ohio)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio—It’s big news for smokers. A new federal increase on tobacco means it will cost more to light up.

It’s a $.62 jump per pack and a bigger increase for loose tobacco.

Some smokers said it’s enough to make them quit. Others said they’re trying to stock up before the date.

Others said they’re worried about possible crime.

NBC 4’s Marcus Thorpe reported ON WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU Monday.

Hal Kuhn, manager of Tobacco Discounters in Columbus, said he wants his customers to shop now before the Wednesday, April 1, tax jump.

He said people have been getting cases and cases of tobacco.

Kuhn’s job is about to get a lot more dangerous.

“I won’t have people come in stealing my money. They’ll come in and say, ‘Give me all your cigarettes.‘ “

This week’s Central Ohio Crime Stoppers’ crime of the week was a perfect example.

The United Dairy Farmers convenience store at 1341 Georgesville Rd. was robbed at about 1:53 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, according to police.

Two unknown black males allegedly stole more than $900 worth of cigars.

When the store manager attempted to confront the suspects, one of them grabbed her arms and physically pushed her to the doorway, and then both suspects exited, police said.

“They are more violent, more aggressive, more blatant because they will go through anything to get the items,“ Assistant Prosecutor Bill Hedrick said.

Hedrick said theft and resell is big business.

“The people stealing are not stealing to smoke a pack; they are stealing cartons,“ Hedrick said.

Some stores are changing operating hours. They plan to be open at well-lit times. Others are stocking up on security cameras.

Kuhn said he will keep informing his customers and shopping for himself—even if it’s not always in Ohio.

My wife just left for Florida. I told her to make sure she got a couple of packs down there, Kuhn said.

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