Suspect in SoFla Cigarette Burglary Spree In Custody, Authorities Say

Fingerprints recovered from a crime scene led investigators to a suspect, the Broward Sheriff's Office says

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    Fingerprints led investigators to their suspect, James Hendee, in an August burglary spree, the Broward Sheriff's Office says.

    Broward sheriff’s detectives say they have tracked down one of two cigarette burglars who struck eight South Florida stores during a three-day spree in August.

    Leading investigators to their suspect, James Hendee, 35, of Hollywood, were fingerprints recovered from one of the crime scenes, the Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

    Hendee, in jail since Aug. 9 on unrelated charges, is facing six charges for his alleged involvement in the crime spree, including burglary and grand theft, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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    Authorities are looking for a pair of cigarette burglars who ripped off eight South Florida stores in a matter of three days. According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the two suspects went on their smoke-stealing spree between August 5-7 in six different South Florida cities. BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said one of the men did not cover his face, a key break for detectives.

    The Sheriff’s Office said it still was searching for the other burglar.

    The burglaries happened between Aug. 5 and Aug 7 in Boynton Beach, Coconut Creek, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Sunrise and Tamarac, the agency said.

    In August, the Sheriff’s Office released surveillance video of two burglars as they broke into Rite Stop at 4050 N. Dixie Highway in Oakland Park. About 4:20 a.m. Aug. 5, an SUV pulled up in front of the business, and the men got out of the car armed with a cement block.

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    The block was hurled at a lower glass pane of the front doors to break it. The burglars then quickly ran in, grabbed cigarettes and fled.

    In an interview with detectives, Hendee admitted his involvement in a burglary in North Lauderdale, but denied participating in any of the other heists, the agency said. He told detectives he stole cigarettes to support a drug habit, the agency said.

    Authorities ask anyone with information about the heists to call sheriff’s Detective Armando Hernandez at 954-202-3131 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.