Federal, Local Authorities Investigating Cigarette Heist

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- As state revenue agents crack down on cigarettes brought into the state, police said burglars stole a truckload of cigarettes from a Murfreesboro warehouse.

State law limits a person from bringing in more than two cartons of cigarettes, but detectives and federal agents are still trying to figure out how many cartons were stolen in an elaborate heist.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with local police to find out how much was taken from a B&W Wholesale Distributors warehouse sometime last weekend.

Cigarettes have become much more expensive in Tennessee after the state in July hiked the tax on each pack of cigarettes from 20 cents to 62 cents.

Police suspect several people participated in the highly organized heist and that they disabled the building's security system and sneaked in through an air vent in the roof.

The thieves used the company's forklifts to remove pallets of cigarettes from the warehouse and other property.

Police suspect the items were then loaded into a truck at one of the building's docks.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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