TAMARAC (CBS4) – Broward Sheriff’s detectives are trying to solve a massive cigar heist in Tamarac. Investigators say a group of thieves worked for hours early Friday morning stealing a load of cigars worth at least a quarter of a million dollars.
Surveillance cameras on the business — Florida Distributors — captured video of men who investigators say had a big score in mind. The video shows the men running towards a tree next to the warehouse. Broward Sheriff’s detectives say the man scaled the tree, broke into the warehouse through a skylight and started hoisting boxes of cigars out of the building and to members of their crew waiting outside.
The items were loaded into vehicles and driven away. The owner, Rizwan Ishaque, learned of the theft when employees arrived for work Friday morning.
“(The thieves) were planning to do it for a long time,” Ishaque said. “They are professional.”
Ishaque says the men stole 700 cases of Dutch Masters cigars. The total take, he says, is more than $250-thousand dollars.
“We lost a lot of money,” he said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office says it took 6 men and 3 vehicles working for two hours to load the stolen cigars and flee. The owner was asked if it could it be an inside job.
“Right now, we have no clue,” he said.
Detective Michael Colantuno says investigators are checking boxes left behind for fingerprints and are hoping to score more surveillance video from nearby businesses to identify the thieves. He says these types of crimes are rare.
“We do get a lot of burglaries all over but I haven’t seen anything like this in a while,” Colantuno said.
The owner says the building has an alarm but it didn’t work. He says the cigars are insured and he says the thieves took advantage of a family owned business.
“The economy is bad,” he said. “We try to earn honest money and this business support 10-15 families. So, this would be the last place to do any harm.”
Investigators and the owner of the warehouse want to make sure these hot cigars don’t make it into local businesses for sale.
“If they see anything that stands out — if they see someone coming over with a large amount of cigars maybe giving them a good price call Crimestoppers or the Broward Sheriff’s Office,” Colantuno said.
Web Video Extra Below: Watch surveillance that captured the cigar thieves.