A Springfield man was arrested Tuesday morning after deputies said he stole thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes from the Speedway gas station at 5050 Urbana Road in Moorefield Twp. that has been hit two other times in recent months.
James T. Maiolo, 44, of 1809 Highland Ave., was arrested on charges of breaking and entering and receiving stolen property. A second person was still be pursued by detectives, said Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly.
Deputies recovered approximately $3,000 worth of cigarettes, including 44 of the 47 cartons stolen from the gas station.
Kelly believes the incident could be linked to other recent thefts and burglaries in the area involving cigarettes, including three at Speedway’s Moorefield Road location in the last four months.
“The Miami Valley has had a rash of businesses broken into where cigarettes is the only item taken,” Kelly said.
At 2:54 a.m. Tuesday, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center received a phone call from Speedway Security workers, who told dispatchers they were witnessing two men entering the business at 5050 Urbana Road. Speedway Security said the suspects had thrown a brick through the front door and were filling a trash can with cigarettes. They also reported the men left in a maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo and headed eastbound on Moorefield Road.
Deputies were sent toward the break-in and noticed a vehicle matching the description southbound on Derr Road. Deputies followed the vehicle before stopping it in the 2600 block of Merritt Street. One suspect fled on foot, reportedly taking three cartons of cigarettes.
The driver, Maiolo, said he was visiting a friend at the address, but the resident was unfamiliar with the license plate. Deputies discovered a trash can full of cigarettes in the backseat of the Monte Carlo. They also discovered the car’s license plates had been stolen from a similar vehicle.
Maiolo has an extensive criminal history and is currently on parole, Kelly said.
“This was a well thought-out burglary,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Speedway’s “excellent” security system and the quick response to the area helped apprehend one of the suspects.
“Even though we were about three miles away from where the incident happened, a quick response and that information is what led to the traffic stop and the arrest and recover,” Kelly said.
He said a carton of cigarettes is typically worth about $60, but can be worth up to $100 in other places, such as New York City. They’re “a hot commodity,” Kelly said, and can be sold easily on the streets or transported to another state.
In September, the Urbana Road Speedway location was the targeted twice in a two-week period — once on Sept. 13 and again on Sept. 25. Both times the intruders used the back door to enter the business.
On Sept. 25, deputies responded to the gas station after receiving an alarm call. On Sept. 13, the burglars used a trash can to steal cigarettes, according to reports.
Kelly said they’re investigating whether the three incidents are linked.
“We’ll be submitting all sorts of forensic evidence as well,” Kelly said.