The Janesville Police Department recently arrested two suspects for their involvement in a cigarette theft operation.
Beginning on May 22, the duo started hitting various tobacco retailers and gas stations. Upon entering, the pair would inquire about purchasing certain cartons of cigarettes. The clerks would comply, fetch the cartons and ring them up. At that point, the thieves would scoop up the cartons and flee the store without paying for the products.
Responding police examined surveillance videos, interviewed the victims and realized the same suspects were implicated in multiple thefts. Police confirmed a list of stores that were hit by the vandals including the local X-Treme Smoke & Vapor shop, Shore Enterprises, a BP station and Casey’s General Store.
A still shot photograph of one of the thieves was circulated throughout the police department. According to Sargent Brian Vaughn, one of the department’s officers recognized a suspect from previous interactions with him. The suspect, 38-year-old Justin M. Tracy, was arrested and taken into custody. He was interrogated by police, and Tracy allegedly confessed to stealing a number of cigarette cartons from various shops in the area.
During questioning, Tracy confirmed that a second suspect was involved in the operation. He identified 34-year-old Ryan L. Grant as his accomplice. Grant was quickly picked up by police. He currently faces seven counts of retail theft, one count of battery, four counts of party to retail theft and criminal damage. Tracy is facing four counts of retail theft and one count of violating probation.