Crime Trackers

Dec 9, 2013 8:53 PM by Lupita Murillo

Beer skips remain a problem at convenience stores

TUCSON - Tucson police are reporting thefts at convenience stores are down considerably in one month's time. In October, they had a record of nearly 1,500. By November, those numbers dropped more than half. TPD says they attribute this to a special deployment targeting convenience stores.

However, TPD says they are still having issues with beer skips. At a store on Grant and Silverbell one suspect was caught on camera three times within a 24 hour period stealing beer. Detective Olga Ramirez says, "We're making every attempt to assist these businesses but it's an ongoing problem."

Circle K tells TPD, this particular suspect is responsible for at least 20 beer skips since October 10th.

Some will argue TPD should focus their efforts on more serious crimes. Police Chief Roberto Villasenor tells News 4 Tucson Crime Trackers, "You pay attention to the little things, it will affect the whole grand scale of what's going on in a community or in a neighborhood."

Circle K officials agree, and have also implemented various programs to cut down on the thefts. They've added more cameras, roving patrols, and undercover security. Carlos Estrada says, "We no longer are going to be victims, working with the police dept, working with the neighborhoods, working with the businesses is the solution."

News 4 Tucson rode with TPD officers throughout the month of November. On this day the Operations Division West Community Response Team noticed something suspicious in one of the parking lots involving a gray car, and when the vehicle left, something was thrown out of the window.

The driver was pulled over, and officers found Co 2 cartridges, and balloons. Police say the driver had just gotten out of jail. The passenger on intensive probation.

Brian Hernandez Molina was given a citation for littering. He denied he was getting high, and responded, "I'm on probation, I don't do that, stay drug free kids, stay in school."

On another night, the same team spotted two men coming out of a convenience store looking suspicious. They sped off from the parking lot with their headlights turned off. When police tried to pull them over, they sped away. The two men ended up abandoning the silver Mercedes they were driving in a dark parking lot. Immediately, the police helicopter was called, quads were set and the hunt was on for the suspects.

Officers found the vehicle abandoned with the doors open, the motor running, and damage to the ignition. TPD says the two men scaled over a wall.

As they searched the vehicle they found burglary tools, weapons, and drug paraphernalia. They also found numerous drivers licenses belonging to various people, cell phones, and lots of keys. The license plate on the Mercedes was reported stolen.

The suspects were nowhere to be found, but left enough evidence behind to keep police on their trail.

TPD says they are committed to improving the quality of life for its citizens so they can feel safe in their community.

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