Crime Trackers

Feb 28, 2013 12:25 PM by Lupita Murillo

'Beer bandit' hits up Circle K 25 times in 18 days

TUCSON - Beer skips, or beer runs, they're a major problem for convenience stores and law enforcement. Beyond that, they're crimes that leave taxpayers holding the bag. A teenager is arrested accused of making up to 30 beer skips in the city and county.

Pima County Sheriff's detectives say, a serial thief has been targeting Circle K's on the Southside.
Joan Hansford is a regular at the Circle K on Benson highway, she says, "I'm afraid for myself, the kids, this guy has got to be stopped somehow."

Investigators say he's hit 25 times in 18 days, sometimes two and three times a day.
Detective Cheryll DeLieto is working the case. After two weeks on it, she found and arrested the 17 year old. Because he is a juvenile we aren't showing his face or naming him. "He just walks in, goes right in to the beer cooler, takes what he's looking for exits the store without paying."
He's in and out in less than a minute.

Surveillance video shows the teen getting in and out in less than a minute with a 30 pack of beer every time. Detectives say that's $1,500 worth.

Detective DeLieto says, "One of his little trademarks when he leaves the store his mouth is always open and his tongue is out."

The thief is on Circle K's radar. Carlos Estrada heads loss prevention for Arizona and Las Vegas. He says on February 9th there was a Circle K undercover security team in place who chased him. "He just had a couple steps on our undercover team." The thief dropped the beer and fled he hasn't returned to the Benson store since.

Detectives say he went to another store on South Palo Verde. This time he had a partner.
Estrada thinks he's selling the beer. "That equates to literally hurting the community as a whole because of the fact that product does not go through our register, the city the state, does not get the sales revenue base."

Circle K has a policy, that employees cannot chase anyone out of the store. They say their employees and customers safety comes first. That's why they partner with law enforcement to help catch the thieves.

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