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Beline Obeid
November 14, 2013
CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — Five burglars worked at warp speed last weekend stealing $1,500 worth of cigarettes from a party store on Mack.

Minutes after sparking the store’s security alarm at 3:42 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, the burglars packed up 30 cartons of cigarettes and disappeared in a virtual puff of smoke.

They also stole the proprietor’s handgun from behind the counter.

City of Grosse Pointe Officer Thomas Martindale was monitoring traffic at the intersection of Mack and Cadieux when dispatchers alerted him to trouble at Alger Deli & Liquor, three blocks up Mack at the corner of St. Clair.

“I arrived within 15 seconds and did a quick perimeter check of the business,” Martindale said.

The front door had been pried open.

“There was noticeable damage to the locking mechanism,” he said.

A sergeant arrived as backup. Both officers entered the business. They found several cartons of cigarettes on the floor.

A short while later, they called the proprietor to the scene.

“(He) states that approximately 30 cartons of cigarettes were stolen,” Martindale said.

The thieves favored Virginia Slims, Newport and Marlboro.

“(The owner) also stated that his Smith & Wesson .357 behind the counter was also missing.”

The $500 gun has “RM” engraved on the grip and is registered in Grosse Pointe Woods, the owner reportedly told police.

Store security video shows five male suspects of unknown age and race. One suspect pried open the door. The other four entered.

“I’d say they’re in their late teens to mid-20s,” said Detective Christopher Lee.

They acted so quickly, the store may have been scouted out and the theft rehearsed.

“There’s a couple different things that could be in play,” Lee said, declining to elaborate.

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