Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.
Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.
Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.
Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.
Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.
A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.
They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products. Read more »