MESA, AZ - Police are searching for a suspect Monday after a woman’s body was found at a Mesa smoke shop.
A 911 call came in just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday from a customer who found the victim dead behind the counter at the Cigarettes 4 Less store at Main Street and Greenfield Road.
Mesa police on scene told ABC15 that the female victim was most likely an employee.
Police said the woman died from obvious signs of trauma, and it appears to have happened during a robbery.
Regular customers and the owners of a neighboring business believe the victim was the store owner.
According to several customers, she was usually the only person working in the store.
"She was hardworking," said Mariah, a long time customer. "I came here this morning and she is gone. It is not fair."
Police are evaluating surveillance video from the shop to see if it helps generate any leads. With so few businesses open at the time, police do not have any witnesses to rely on for information.
Meanwhile a small memorial is growing outside the shop.
One woman said that the victim has adult children but was not aware of where they live.
Another customer told ABC15 that she frequently expressed concerns about young people stealing from her.
Police have not released how she was killed and said there have been about 11 incidents at that shop since about 2007 but nothing this year.
They said most of the incidents were minor things like shoplifting and nothing that would connect to this type of violence.
Police have been conducting an investigation through the night into Monday morning.
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