Up in smoke: Man responsible for stealing over $10,000 in cigarettes arrested by Phoenix Police

Posted at 10:58 AM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 13:58:52-04

A man who police believe is responsible for stealing thousands of dollars in cigarettes has been arrested.

Court records show that between March and October, Victor Melendez committed 38 burglaries of 14 Circle K stores, stealing more than $10,000 in cigarettes. 

Police report that Melendez, 36, would enter the stores, go behind the counter and take packages of Marlboro, Newport and other cigarettes, put them under his shirt and take off. 

Police say he stole $10,565 in cigarettes from Circle K over time.

However, it was a theft of some solar lights from a home that lead to his arrest. Surveillance video from a home showed tattoos on the suspect. Police put the information with other evidence into a database and were able to identify Melendez. 

Melendez already had a warrant when police raided his apartment near 21st Avenue and Indian School Road.

When police went into the apartment, Melendez was allegedly in the process of injecting himself with heroin.

Melendez has been charged with burglary.