Two weeks ago just around 3 a.m. police got word that a security alarm had been activated at Tobacco Express on West Avenue. Someone ransacked the business, stealing about $3,600 worth of cigarettes, loose tobacco, rolling papers, lighters and pipes.
Police discovered that the culprit shimmied up an exterior drain pipe to reach the roof. From there, the burglar removed a vent cover and slid down a rope into the business.
The suspect made a hasty getaway, dropping loot as he fled. He also left behind clue No. 1 -- a prescription bottle with his name on it.
Several hours later police found another clue at the site of an attempted rooftop burglary. The man had dropped his driver's license on the roof of a real estate office, police wrote in an affidavit.
Police say later that morning the man also tried to break into his mother's apartment with a screwdriver.
An Arlington police detective later received a phone call that a man was outside a convenience store, giving away cigarettes and other tobacco products. Police confronted the man, 21, and searched his backpack and coats but didn't find any stolen merchandise.
The next morning the man's mother called 911. She reported that her son showed up, carrying multiple cigarette cartons. A neighbor also turned over other stolen property.
The suspect was arrested. He admitted he was behind the break-in. He told the cops he is heroin addict. He planned to smoke the cigarettes and sell them to support his addiction.
In an unrelated case, the suspect was convicted of two counts of second-degree burglary in August. He has additional misdemeanor convictions for property crimes dating back to 2009.
The man told police he is homeless and "sleeps on the ground anywhere he can." He receives state assistance and works odd jobs.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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