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Men Steal $1M in Tobacco Products

April 1, 1999

CORONA, Calif. (AP) _ An armed gang backed a truck up to a warehouse Wednesday and made off with an estimated $1 million worth of cigarettes, about 780 years worth of pack-a-day habits.

No one was injured in the robbery during which four men in hoods entered an employee entrance shortly before 5 a.m.

``We tend to believe they’re headed for another state or maybe L.A., where they’ll be sold on the black market,″ said Sgt. Eddie Garcia, a police spokesman. The smokes, of several brands, would be practically impossible to trace, he said.

The thieves bound most of the 15 employees with tape and forced a few others to drive forklifts, loading the cargo pallets into a 48-foot trailer, he said.

``It sounds like it was pretty well organized,″ Garcia said.

Even legitimate ``bargain″ cigarettes run about $3.50 per pack nowadays, and prices of $4.50 to $5 are common in airports, bars and hotels.

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