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Cigarette thief charged in numerous break-ins

The Corinth Police Department nabbed an alleged "cigarette bandit" after the suspect was spotted at the scene of a residential burglary.

Michael Lee Jones, 38, of Wick Street, Corinth, is accused of breaking into a number of Corinth stores and targeting one product — cigarettes. Capt. Dell Green said the investigation of recent burglaries also connected him to a couple of commercial burglaries last year.

It appears he was reselling the cigarettes, he said.

The Corinth Police Department is charging Jones with eight felonies — six commercial burglaries, one attempted commercial burglary and one residential burglary. The city judge set bond at a total of $16,000, and Jones remained in custody Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Ben Caldwell said the county is also charging Jones with burglary of the Dollar General on Highway 45 South at Biggersville. It happened the night of April 15, and cigarettes was the only thing taken.

Green said the offenses include a March 26 break-in at the Marathon gas station on East Shiloh Road, a March 28 break-in at the Chevron on Harper Road and an April 4 break-in at the Sprint Mart at Cass Street and Meigg Street. The suspect broke the glass doors by throwing a rock and took multiple packs of cigarettes at each location.

This past Sunday, the suspect hit the BD Mart on Proper Street, again taking cigarettes. On the same day, he unsuccessfully attempted to break into Tobacco Plus on Highway 72, where the rock he threw did not break the glass.

Through surveillance footage, Corinth police identified the suspect and linked him to break-ins that occurred at the Harper Quick Stop and the Cigarette Mart on Harper Road in July 2018. Warrants were issued for his arrest.

A break in the case came on Tuesday when Green said the police department responded to a residential burglary alarm at 1502 Wick Street, and an officer arriving on scene saw a male running from the residence, where a gun was stolen. The suspect left behind a jacket containing a receipt from a nearby business. Through surveillance footage from the store, the man was identified as the suspect in the various store burglaries.

Green said the police department learned that Jones had been staying a few houses down from the burglarized house on Wick Street, and he was taken into custody there about 1:30 p.m.