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LAS VEGAS -- While convenience store robberies have increased in the Las Vegas Valley, it's cigarettes, not cash, the thieves are after, local television station KLAS reported.
Azam Hakim, owner of a local convenience store, has spent seven years in the area and was never a victim of crime until recently, the report stated. The thief caused thousands of dollars in damage when breaking into the shop. And while little cash was taken, many cartons of cigarettes were taken from the store, according to the report.
"The whole wall will need to be replaced. The ice machine was pushed, so it's leaking," he told the station. "We have a lot of liquor, as you can see, against the wall. But he didn't go toward the liquor at all. Just cigarettes."
There has been an increase in cigarette robberies in the area, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Police told the station an increase in the price of cigarettes could by why robbers would rather steal than pay for them.
"I was not aware that this was happening. But this is a first to me. And I hope this is the last one," Hakim said.
Down the street from Hakim, another c-store owner has taken the lead in protecting his cigarettes. The cigarettes in Pat Ginn's store were moved from above the register to the wall behind the cashier. In addition, cartons have been removed and he has reduced the store's selection of cigarettes.
"Don't leave cartons on site. If they see the whole carton, they get a different idea. That's the secret," Ginn told the station.