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5 face charges in Virginia cigarette theft

Five Virginia residents are facingcriminal charges after allegedly taking part in burglaries that netted cigarettes.

Four of the people -- men ages 26, 31 and 49, along with a 34-year-old woman -- share the same address in Jonesville, Virginia. The other defendant, a 55-year-old woman, also lives in Jonesville. They are accused of breaking into a convenience store twice this year.

The two younger men have been accused of two counts of grand larceny, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of destruction of property worth more than $1,000, and six counts of conspiracy, according to law enforcement.

Additionally, the older man and the woman he lives with face charges of grand larceny, three counts of conspiracy, breaking and entering, and destruction of property for their alleged role in a break-in that occurred in April. The older woman faces the same charges for allegedly taking part in a burglary in January.

In both the January and April thefts, police had surveillance video available to them that allegedly showed the burglary in progress.

According to police, one of the women admitted driving the men the evening of the burglary and leaving them near the convenience store. It is believed that in that instance, one man broke the door while the other committed the crime, police said.

In the other burglary, the older woman said she drove the men that night, and picked up one of them and drove him home. She said she was not aware that the cigarettes had been stolen until after she drove the man home.

Authorities said that the men they saw in the surveillance video were wearing hooded sweatshirts, which could make identification of them more difficult at trial. They will need more evidence than the videos if they are to get a conviction in this case.

Source: Times News, "Five charged in theft of cigarettes from Lee convenience store," Wes Bunch, Sept. 26, 2012

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