Freeland Shell Shack smoke thieves sought by sheriff’s deputies
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
March 5, 2013 · 4:14 PM
Detectives with the Island County Sheriff’s Office are seeking help identifying three suspects who stole $10,000 worth of tobacco products from a Freeland gas station.
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 captured by the store’s surveillance video Monday in hopes someone will be able to help identify the culprits.
A series of photos can be viewed on the Island County Sheriff’s Facebook site.
Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s office by calling 360-679-9567 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wallace said two of the burglars wore bandanas over their faces. The third thief wore a gorilla mask.
The mask was left behind 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 in theft cases.
In this case, though, the dollar amount of the theft is so high that the test is warranted, Wallace said.
The burglars got away with 110 cartons of cigarettes and 120 cartons of chewing tobacco, according to Wallace.
Wallace said he suspects they will try to sell the tobacco products on the black market.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.