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Tobacco thieves caught on tape at Shell Shack

Island County Sheriff’s Office released this image of one of three masked burglars who stole cigarettes and chewing tobacco from the Freeland Shell station last month.  - Photo courtesy of the Island County Sheriff’s Office
Island County Sheriff’s Office released this image of one of three masked burglars who stole cigarettes and chewing tobacco from the Freeland Shell station last month.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Island County Sheriff’s Office

Detectives with the Island County Sheriff’s Office are trying to identify three suspects who stole $10,000 worth of tobacco products from a Freeland gas station last month.

Detective Ed Wallace said the three masked men — or possibly women — entered the Freeland Shell station, commonly known as the Shell Shack, by forcing open the drive-through window at about 3 a.m. Feb. 19.

Wallace released images from the store’s surveillance video Monday in hopes someone will be able to help identify them.

A series of photos can be viewed on the Island County Sheriff’s Facebook site.

Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s office at 360-679-9567 or by email at tips@co.island.wa.us

Wallace said two of the burglars wore bandanas over their faces and the third wore a gorilla mask. The mask was left at the scene. Detectives sent it to the state crime lab for DNA analysis.

Wallace said the crime lab normally doesn’t conduct DNA testing for theft cases. But, in this case, the dollar amount of the theft is so high that the test is warranted, Wallace said.

The burglars absconded with 110 cartons of cigarettes and 120 cartons of chewing tobacco, according to Wallace.

He said he suspects the thieves will try to sell the tobacco products on the black market.

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